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India, Seychelles Discuss Maritime Security, Defence Cooperation

Maritime security and defence cooperation were among the subjects on the table for discussions between India and Seychelles during a two-day visit by Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar that concluded over the weekend.

Enhancing development cooperation from India for the Seychelles, capacity building, trade, tourism and commerce, as well as health in the times of the covid-19 pandemic. were the other issues discussed during Jaishankar’s visit.

Seychelles was the third leg of a three-nation tour by Jaishankar that also saw him visit Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. With India defining the new strategic Indo-Pacific region as lying between the east coast of Africa and the west coast of the United States, New Delhi views the Seychelles as its neighbour.

Jaishankar was seen as the first to arrive in Seychelles for an “in person” visit to the country since the start of the covid-19 pandemic.

The main aim of the trip was to establish early contact with the Wavel Ramkalawan government that came into office last month after presidential polls.

Ramkalawan, a former Anglican priest of Indian origin, defeated Danny Faure in the October polls to take the Seychelles presidency. It was with Faure’s government that India signed a pact to develop the naval facility on Assumption Island for use by both countries.

The plan included the construction of an airstrip and a jetty besides housing infrastructure, all built through an investment of $550 million by India.

But opposition from Ramkalawan and his Linyon Demokratik Seselwa party had stalled the project for which an initial pact was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2015 visit to Seychelles

Enhancing development cooperation from India for the Seychelles, capacity building, trade, tourism and commerce, as well as health in the times of the covid-19 pandemic. were the other issues discussed during Jaishankar’s visit.

Seychelles was the third leg of a three-nation tour by Jaishankar that also saw him visit Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. With India defining the new strategic Indo-Pacific region as lying between the east coast of Africa and the west coast of the United States, New Delhi views the Seychelles as its neighbour.

An Indian foreign ministry statement said defence cooperation had been on the agenda of talks between Jaishankar and his counterpart Sylvestre Radegonde, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism. There was no direct mention of the Assumption Island project.

The visiting Indian minister also spoke of “the centrality of Seychelles to India’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region) that characterized India’s policy towards the Indian Ocean Region. As a neighbor across waters, Seychelles was very much a part of the Neighborhood First policy as well,” it said.

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YATISH MAHAJAN

I am Yatish Mahajan. Defence aspirant, want to wear stars on shoulders. At present pursuing BE in mechanical engineering.

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