Significance of President of Seychelles Danny Faure’s Visit to India | Vivekananda International Foundation
Significance of President of Seychelles Danny Faure’s Visit to India
Dr Neha Sinha, Associate Fellow, VIF

Over the last few years, India’s outreach to Africa has been considerable, particularly the relation between Indian and Seychelles has always been worthy of attention. Since 1976, when Seychelles gained independence, the relationship between the two nations has been warm and cordial. Seychelles has been of strategic importance to India given its security concerns in the Indian Ocean.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed four agreements during his visit to Seychelles in 2015. The agreements were mainly on areas of renewable energy cooperation, hydrography, protocol on sale of navigational charts and lastly, an agreement on developing facilities on Assumption Island. The Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s visit to Seychelles on 27th January 2018 also resulted in an agreement focusing on ways to tackle the challenges of maritime security in Assumption Island.

Few days ago, in June 2018, the Seychelles President Danny Faure, was on a six-day visit to India, which also marked his first bilateral visit to India. His visit included the first stop at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, where he invoked the principles of Mahatma Gandhi and then to Goa, and finally heading out to New Delhi. During his visit, he assured the Indian leadership that the “now-on and now-off” agreement to develop a military infrastructure on the Assumption Island will be re-evaluated. After discussion with PM Modi, both the nations agreed to work on a project which would develop a naval base at the Assumption Island and this project would grant India a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean Region. Both the countries have decided to cooperate over hydrographical studies of the maritime region, by exchanging oceanic maps.

India offered a credit line of US $ 100 million to buy defence equipment from India, which would build its maritime capacity. As earlier promised by PM Modi, India also provided the Dornier aircraft to Seychelles. The aircraft was handed over to Faure by Sushma Swaraj, where she said that “the aircraft will give a quantum enhancement in maritime reconnaissance and contribute towards keeping the vast exclusive economic zone of Seychelles free from maritime threats”.

Furthermore, six bilateral agreements were signed which included areas of naval cooperation, cyber security, culture and other development projects. Modi also mentioned, that India would finance three civilian infrastructure projects in Seychelles: a) a Government House; b) a New Police Headquarters; and, c) an Attorney General's Office. An amount of $3.45 million has been allocated to Seychelles for the construction of Magistrate's Court. India has also financed an amount of $3.5 million to the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation to purchase 71 buses from TATA Motors. Seychelles' Health Care Agency and the Anti-Narcotics Bureau are two other agencies which is said to benefit from grants provided by India.

In a gesture of goodwill, President Faure gifted PM Modi, a pair of giant Aldabra Tortoises which signifies an ever-lasting bonding between the two countries. Indo-Seychelles relationship is fostered on a much larger platform –including a rise in the flow of direct investment, growth in trade, increased interaction with India and its Diaspora in Seychelles, and progress in the field of Information Technology. Thus, the visit of President of Seychelles is significant in enhancing the bond between the two nations.

People of Indian origin in Seychelles number around ten thousand, who mainly hail from Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. When they first came to Seychelles they worked as traders, labourers and construction workers. But these days, they can be seen contributing in every field. Their role and contribution has been immense, thus making the recent visit of Faure’s remarkable by taking the bonding of India and Seychelles to a prominent level.

Endnotes:

• Business Line, 2018: ‘India, Seychelles sign six agreements’.
https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/india-seychelles-sign-six-agreements/article24252560.ece

• Kaura Vinay, 2018: First Post, ‘Seychelles president Danny Faure in India: Fate of Assumption Island deal, strategic ties at stake’.
https://www.firstpost.com/world/seychelles-president-danny-faure-in-india-fate-of-assumption-island-deal-strategic-and-diplomatic-ties-hang-in-balance-4569411.html

• MEA, 2016: ‘India-Seychelles Relation’.
https://mea.gov.in/Portal/ForeignRelation/Seychelles_15_01_2016.pdf

• Sushma Swaraj 2018, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
http://meacms.mea.gov.in/Speeches-Statements.htm?dtl/30017/Remarks_by_External_Affairs_Minister_at_the_Handing_over_ceremony_of_the_Second_Dornier_Aircraft_to_President_of_Seychelles

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi 2018, Ministry of External Affair, Government of India.
http://meacms.mea.gov.in/Speeches-Statements.htm?dtl/30016/Translation_of_Prime_Ministers_Press_Statement_during_the_State_Visit_of_President_of_Seychelles_to_India

• NDTV 25th June, 2018
https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/india-seychelles-sign-six-agreements-as-pm-modi-meets-danny-faure-1872763


Image Source: https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/india-seychelles-sign-six-agreements-as-pm-modi-meets-danny-faure-1872763)

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