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India, Seychelles talk of ‘mutual welfare’

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India, Seychelles talk of ‘mutual welfare’

Kallol Bhattacherjee

Modi, Faure discuss stalled Assumption island project

India and Seychelles will ensure mutually beneficial steps regarding stalled plans for a military base at the island of Assumption, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday.

Speaking at Hyderabad House here after a bilateral meeting with the visiting Seychelles President Danny Faure, Mr. Modi announced several initiatives for the strategically located country, including the grant of $100 million Line of Credit for the purchase of defence hardware. “On the project of Assumption island, we have agreed to work for the welfare of each other,” said Mr. Modi.

The statement is the first from the Prime Minister since the National Assembly of Seychelles last week refused to ratify the naval base that India has been planning to build on Assumption to provide a foothold in the western Indian Ocean.

Inhis remarks, Mr. Faure said that both sides would remain engaged on the issue. “[We] will continue to work together, bearing each other’s interest in mind,” he said.

It is not clear how both sides would take the project forward in the absence of a parliamentary ratification.

Line of credit

However, India made it clear that its security and strategic cooperation will go ahead.

On the line of credit, Mr. Modi said, “I am happy in announcing a $100 million line of credit for Seychelles that it can use to buy military hardware from India for building its maritime capacity,” adding that the two countries have convergence of views on the geostrategic importance of the Indian Ocean region. He also declared that both sides would intensify cooperation to carry out hydrographical studies of the maritime region and have declared exchange of necessary oceanic maps between two sides.

India also gifted a Dornier aircraft to Seychelles.

“This will reach on time to participate in the June 29 National Day of Seychelles,” said Prime Minister Modi.

“We have expressed our strong desire to elevate our bilateral relation to a comprehensive partnership of greater strategic partnership,” said Mr Faure.

“India is ready to finance three civilian infrastructure projects in Seychelles under Special Grant. Government House, New Police Headquarters and the Office of the Attorney General is included in this,” declared the Prime Minister.

Source: The Hindu

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