India to provide aircraft, choppers to Seychelles

Last Updated: Monday, July 19, 2010 - 21:40

New Delhi: India and Seychelles today agreed
to take forward their cooperation in tackling piracy in the
Indian Ocean, with New Delhi assuring a new Dornier patrol
aircraft and two Chetak helicopters to the island nation at
the earliest.

The agreement was achieved during Indian Defence Minister
A K Antony`s two-day visit to Seychelles, a Defence Ministry
press release said here.

On a request from Seychelles, India would also help it in
carrying out surveillance operations in its maritime and
Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and to build capacity of its
armed forces.

The arrangement was worked out when Antony met
Seychellois President James Alix Michel, Vice President Danny
Faure, Foreign Minister Jean Paul Adam and Home Affairs
Minister Joel Morgan in the Island nation, the release said.
Antony is in Seychelles leading a high-level delegation
that includes Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and Naval Vice
Chief Vice Admiral D K Dewan.

During the interaction with Seychellois leadership,
Antony said the piracy problem in the Gulf of Aden affected
all countries and he also shared the concern of Seychelles on
the increasing reach of the sea brigands.

"This is a problem, which calls for cooperation among all
countries. The Indian Ocean links us all and is critical for
our economic interests. We must cooperate to ensure peace and
stability in this region," Antony was quoted as saying.

He also reiterated India`s assurance, as conveyed by
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during Michel`s visit to New
Delhi earlier this year, for continued cooperation in all
fields, particularly in the field of Defence and Security.
The Prime Minister had announced a USD 5 million
assistance for defence-related projects for Seychelles then.

The Dornier and the two Chetak helicopters from Hindustan
Aeronautics Limited for maritime security would be over and
above the Prime Minister`s assurance, the release said.

Although the normal delivery time was 18 months to 24
months, India assured to supply the Dornier in 15 months and
the helicopters at the earliest, the release added.

During this period-- from now to delivery of the
aircraft-- India would provide one of her in-service Dornier
to carry out maritime surveillance.

To a request from Seychelles leadership, Antony said
India would help the island nation in surveillance of the EEZ
"as frequently as possible" and the Indian Navy would also
make additional visits this year for surveillance and
hydro-graphic survey around it.

During the visits of the Indian warships, the Seychellois
personnel would get the opportunity to go on board for
maintenance training, drills and exercises, as a means to
build their capacity.

PTI



First Published: Monday, July 19, 2010 - 21:40

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