Victoria: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Victoria, has begun discussions with Seychelles President James Michel for India and the island nation to engage in maritime security, with a focus on greater cooperation with respect to anti-piracy measures.
"Prime Minister Modi begins his visit to the Indian Ocean island nations with discussions with the President of Seychelles. A substantive element of their discussions is 'Blue Economy'. India and Seychelles are also working on maritime security, better cooperation in anti-piracy measures and are engaged in working towards renewable energy," Ministry of External affairs official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told ANI.
"India has a strong and historical connection with the Indian Ocean islands nations. In recent times, new elements have been added to these connections. The maritime neighbours need to meet, interact and cooperate often," he added.
Akbaruddin further said that Prime Minister Modi is later scheduled to unveil a radar system, which would enable Seychelles with its security.
"India and Seychelles have been working together on maritime security for some time. The Prime Minister today will unveil yet another aspect on maritime security co-operation between our two nations, when he will unveil a radar system, which will enable Seychelles to have a greater understanding of its environment. This radar system is a system which will enable Seychelles to access the moves of unsavoury elements in the region," he said.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi embarked on his five-day, three-nation visit to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.
Relations between India and Seychelles have been characterized by close cooperation and understanding. An Indian naval ship, the INS Tarasa, was gifted to Seychelles in 2014 to augment surveillance and patrolling capacity of Seychelles waters. Several Indian ships have since made port calls in Victoria.
In 2009, on the request of Seychelles, India dispatched naval ships to patrol its exclusive economic zone and guard it against piracy. India has also helped Seychelles' armed forces in capacity building.
During the Indian presidential visit to Seychelles in 2012, India announced USDS 50 million as Line of Credit and USD 25 million as grant to the Government of Seychelles. Indian assistance has also flowed since the 1980's under ITEC programme in civilian defense and other fields.
Indians constitute about one tenth of the country's 91,000-strong population. On January 9, 2015, the Pravasi Bharatitya Samman Award was conferred on a Seychelles citizen of Indian origin, Justice D. Karunakaran. He is the second Seychellian recipient of the award. The community is looking forward to greater people to people contact with India which would receive an impetus with the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the island nation.