New Delhi, June 25: India and Seychelles Monday agreed to work on the Assumption Island naval base project keeping each other’s interest in mind as New Delhi promised a $100 million line of credit to the Indian Ocean archipelago nation to strengthen its defence capabilities.
“On the issue of Assumption Island, we are ready to work together on the basis of each other’s interest,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a joint press meet with Seychelles President Danny Faure after talks between the two leaders at Hyderabad House here.
The agreement allowing India to build naval facilities on Assumption Island was signed by the two countries during Modi’s first visit to Seychelles in 2015. The opposition in Seychelles is against the pact on concerns about sovereignty.
Faure is on his first bilateral visit to India at the invitation of President Ram Nath Kovind. He visited Ahmedabad and Goa before landing in Delhi. Expressing the intention to continue the dialogue on the issue, Faure, too, said: “In the context of maritime security, Assumption Island was discussed. We are equally engaged and will continue to work together bearing each other’s interest in mind.
“We have underscored our commitment to remain at the heart of joint initiatives and collective efforts to stimulate and facilitate cooperation in fields representing priorities on the sub-regional, regional and continental agendas.”
Further, India announced a $100 million line of credit to Seychelles to strengthen its defence capabilities, maritime infrastructure and capability of its defence personnel. “I feel pleasure in announcing a credit of $100 million for Seychelles defence. With this credit, Seychelles will be able to buy defence equipment from India to build its maritime capacity,” Modi said.
With India’s support, Seychelles will be able to tackle traditional as well as non- traditional maritime challenges and will be able to safeguard its maritime resources, he said. During Faure’s visit, the two countries added six new agreements covering significant sectors of development including culture, cyber security, maritime safety and security cooperation, diplomacy and infrastructure development.
“We will benefit from a second line of credit that will help the infrastructure of our military (and) defence forces in Seychelles. Through a grant, we will build a new government house. We will also build a new police headquarters and a new building for the Attorney General’s office,” Faure said.
Modi said the Dornier aircraft India was proposing to give to Seychelles would be there before its National Day on June 29. “India and Seychelles are connected by Indian Ocean. Secure maritime environment is essential for our people’s prosperity and development of sustainable ocean economy… We are cooperating on making navigation charts available and for conducting hydrography surveys. An MoU has been signed to share White Shipping Data,” Modi said.