India to gift Seychelles coastguard boat, second Dornier: Modi

New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced the gifting of an Interceptor Coastguard boat and a second Dornier aircraft to Seychelles after holding talks here with its visiting President James Alix Michel.

Modi, who had met Michel during a visit to the strategic Indian Ocean archipelago nation in March this year, termed Seychelles a key strategic partner for India and said Michel’s visit has imparted additional momentum to bilateral relations.

“We are honoured to be a partner in providing aircraft, naval vessels and coastal radar systems for strengthening surveillance capacities. Our cooperation in hydrography surveys is extensive and growing,” Modi said.

Both sides inked five agreements, including on exchange of information with regard to taxes and an MoU for providing a Dornier aircraft.

Modi said India will be gifting one more Interceptor Coastguard boat to Seychelles.

“In March, I had announced that we would gift a second Dornier aircraft to Seychelles. I am pleased that we have completed the process quickly and signed the agreement today,” he said.

He termed the agreement for cooperation on blue economy as a “huge step forward” in ties and in promoting sustainable ocean economy in the region.

Modi said both sides look forward to cooperating in space, including in the areas of managing land and marine resources, fisheries advisory, weather forecasting and disaster management.

“We have begun preparations for infrastructure development on the Assumption Island in Seychelles,” Modi said.

He said the Air Services agreement inked on Wednesday would enable more and easier connections between the two countries.

With the climate change summit in December, Modi said that climate change is a serious threat to island countries like Seychelles. “With a shoreline of 7,500 km and nearly 1,300 islands, India has similar concerns.”

Modi proposed that both could “work together for a comprehensive, balanced and effective outcome on climate change at COP 21 in Paris later this year”.

He expressed appreciation for Seychelles’ support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded UN security council.

He also conveyed India’s “desire to work with Small Island Developing States to realise their vision of Samoa Pathway and to be a source of strength for each other in international forums”.

He also thanked Seychelles for its support in making the International Day of Yoga a big success.

Michel, in his media statement, said his visit to India within five months of Modi’s visit “illustrates the unique relationship the two have on shared values and aspirations”.

He said both have common goals in the Indian Ocean Rim Association and that the agreements inked on Wednesday would pave the way for enhancement of bilateral ties.

He expressed appreciation for the Dornier aircraft, which he said, would significantly enhance security of his country.

Michel said Seychelles has expressed willingness to be part of the maritime cooperation between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

The five documents exchanged were for exchange of information with regard to taxes; an MoU for providing one Dornier maritime aircraft; an air services agreement; a protocol on framework of cooperation on blue economy; an MoU in agricultural research and education; and presentation of navigational chart of an island of Seychelles to the foreign minister.

Michel arrived here on Tuesday on a three-day visit.

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