New Delhi: Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral RK Dhowan, will be on a four-day visit to Seychelles beginning Friday during which he will hand over the second Indian Fast Attack Craft (FAC) to the government there.
The Navy Chief is also scheduled to call on the President, CDF and other civil and military officials during his visit to Seychelles.
Admiral Dhowan's visit to Seychelles comes at a time when Indian Naval Ships Mumbai, Talwar, Teg and Deepak under the Command of Rear Admiral R Hari Kumar, VSM, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, are on a two-month long Overseas Deployment to East Africa and the South Indian Ocean region.
Three of the four ships, INS Mumbai, INS Talwar and INS Deepak arrived at Port Victoria today towards bolstering bilateral ties and reinforcing cooperation in maritime security between India and Seychelles. During the stay, the ships would be kept open to public. In addition, various cultural events and games between the two navies are scheduled to strengthen bonds of friendship between the two nations.
India and Seychelles have historically maintained cordial relations and official diplomatic ties were established after the independence of Seychelles in 1976. The appointment of a resident High Commissioner in Port Victoria in 1987 paved the way for enhanced bilateral relations.
The defence relations are based on mutual trust and support in all matters of maritime security. India has provided a comprehensive maritime security solution including provisioning of military hardware, training, consultancy as well as hydrographic assistance to Seychelles.
The first craft, SCG Topaz (formerly INS Tarmugli), was gifted to the Seychelles by the Government of India in 2005 and has served the Seychelles Coast Guard well, having carried out several anti-piracy patrols and captured several pirates. The handing over of the second attack craft will further bolster the strength of the Seychelles Coast Guard and serve as another visible, potent symbol of the friendship between the two countries.
INS Tarasa, which has been recently refitted at Naval Dockyard Mumbai, will join her sister ship SCG Topaz as part of the Indian Navy's assistance to Seychelles Coast Guard in capacity building towards meeting her maritime security needs.
In addition, the Indian Navy would also position a maintenance and support team to assist the Seychelles Coast Guard. The Indian Navy remains committed to support Seychelles in its endeavours to ensure good order at sea and protection of its vast Exclusive Economic Zone.
India and Seychelles are also members of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a voluntary and co-operative initiative between 35 countries of the Indian Ocean Region, which has served as an ideal forum for sharing of information and cooperation on maritime issues.