India, Seychelles ink four pacts during Modi visit

Victoria (Seychelles) (IANS): India and the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles strengthened their ties as Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here for a brief visit, the first by an Indian prime minister in 34 years that saw the inking of four pacts to boost maritime cooperation.

Modi, who arrived on Tuesday night, was warmly greeted at the airport by Seychelles President James Michel, Vice President Danny Faure and members of the Indian community.

Addressing the media after holding talks with Michel, the Indian prime minister said their bilateral ties were “nurtured by a common purpose – progress of our people and peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region”.

“Our security partnership is strong. It has enabled us to fulfill our shared responsibility to advance maritime security in the region,” said Modi as he announced another Dornier aircraft for Seychelles and also a Coastal Surveillance Radar Project as a symbol of bilateral cooperation.

Modi said the steps will help Seychelles secure its islands and the vast expanse of waters around them.

The radar project is on Assumption Island, one of the 115 islands that constitute Seychelles.

Modi said both sides underlined the importance of comprehensive cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region and for a more active and productive Indian Ocean Rim Association.

Both countries also decided to set up a Joint Working Group to expand cooperation in the sphere of blue economy, Modi said.

Earlier, Michel said Modi’s visit was a “symbol of the excellent ties between our two peoples” and that India was a close friend of Seychelles.

The two sides inked four agreements, including on cooperation in hydrography, renewable energy, infrastructure development and sale of navigation charts and electronic navigational charts.

Modi thanked Seychelles for supporting India in international fora, including endorsing India’s permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council.

Modi said both sides have strong convergence of views on climate change and were committed to combating this.

He was accorded a rousing civic reception by hundreds of expatriate Indians.