Millennium Post

India, Seychelles sign 4 pacts to boost cooperation

India, Seychelles sign 4 pacts to boost cooperation
Seeking to expand its footprint in the strategic Indian Ocean, India on Wednesday agreed to help Seychelles in mapping its hydrology reserves under four agreements signed during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who launched a coastal surveillance radar project to boost security cooperation with the island nation.

The Prime Minister also announced that India will give a second Dornier maritime patrol aircraft to Seychelles and provide free of cost visas for three months for its citizens and making it available to them on arrival.

After one-to-one and delegation-level talks with Seychelles President James Alix Michel, Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Seychelles in 34 years, also said they underlined the importance of comprehensive cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.

“We expressed support for a more active and productive Indian Ocean Rim Association,” Modi, who arrived here on Tuesday on the first leg of his three-nation tour, told reporters.

He also launched the Coastal Surveillance Radar Project, describing it as another symbol of the cooperation between the two countries.

Amid increasing Chinese focus on the Indian Ocean, India is aiming to pitch in with all help to island nations like Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.

China has been making inroads into these island nations with infrastructure projects that has raised India’s eyebrows.

The first CSR would be based in Mahe Island, capital of Seychelles.

“This is part of the capability enhancement project for Seychelles in which India is helping,” official sources said, adding that it will help keep a watch on the coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and combat piracy.

Modi and Michel witnessed the signing of four agreements: cooperation in hydrographic survey, renewable energy, infrastructure development and jointly develop navigation charts and electronic navigational charts for sale to other countries.

“Our agreement today on hydrographic survey adds a new dimension to our maritime cooperation. I thank Seychelles for their confidence in India,” Modi said. “I am pleased to announce that we will be giving one more Dornier aircraft to Seychelles,” Modi said. India had given the first Dornier aircraft to Seychelles in 2013.

“Our security partnership is strong. It has enabled us to fulfil our shared responsibility to advance maritime security in the region,” he said.

Swaraj: Indo-ASEAN maritime pact likely by year-end

Seeking deeper engagement with ASEAN, India on Wednesday invited the powerful bloc to take advantage of its ‘Make-in-India’ initiative and invest in railways, ports and smart cities besides forging closer ties in combating terrorism and other transnational crimes. Addressing the annual Delhi Dialogue on ASEAN-India partnership, MEA Sushma Swaraj also identified maritime cooperation as a major area.
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