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India-Seychelles Relation

India-Seychelles Relation

Why in news?

  • Recently, a virtual meet was held between the Prime Minister of India and the President of Seychelles.

KEY TAKEAWAYS ABOUT THE MEET

  • New Magistrate Court Building
    • During the meet, the two leaders jointly inaugurated the new Magistrate Court building in Seychelles.
    • The Magistrates’ Court is a state of the art building which will substantially enhance the capacity of the Seychelles judicial system and aid in better delivery of judicial services to the people of Seychelles.
  • High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP):
    • The leaders also inaugurated ten High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP).
    • It will be implemented by the High Commission of India in collaboration with local bodies, educational and vocational institutions.
    • They aimed at implementing small people-oriented projects which contribute significantly towards the socio-economic development and improvement of local communities.
  • Handing over of a Fast Patrol Vessel to Seychelles Coast Guard:
    • India handed over a fast patrol vessel (PS Zoroaster) to the island nation.
    • The 48.9-metre patrol boat was built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineering (under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence) at a cost of Rs. 100 crore and has a top speed of 35 knots and an endurance of 1,500 nautical miles.
    • The vessel will be used for multi-purpose operations, such as patrolling, anti-smuggling and anti-poaching operations, and search and rescue.
    • India gifted similar vessels to the Seychelles in 2005, 2014 and 2016.
  • Handing over of a 1 MW Solar Power Plant:
    • The 1 MW ground-mounted solar power plant at the Romainville Island of Seychelles has been completed.
    • It is a part of the ‘Solar PV Democratization Project’ which is being implemented in Seychelles by the Government of India under grant assistance.
    • India has so far taken up 29 small people-oriented development projects in Seychelles, while the 1MW solar project was built in addition to installing solar systems at 146 government buildings and domestic households.
  • Seychelles appreciated Indian aid during COVID-19 times. India has so far sent 50,000 doses of COVISHIELD vaccine to Seychelles.

India-Seychelles Relation background

  • Diplomatic ties between India and Seychelles have existed since Seychelles gained independence in 1976.
  • A resident high commissioner of India has been in Seychelles since 1987 while Seychelles opened its resident mission in India in 2008.
  • When Seychelles attained freedom, a contingent from the Indian Naval Ship, INS Nilgiri, took part in the Independence Day celebrations.
  • Since then the tradition of Indian military participation at the Seychelles National Day celebrations has continued till date.
  • Relations between the two countries have been warm and cordial with regular high level exchange visits between the countries.              India-Seychelles Relation
  • These relations have been around a host of sectors including defence, culture, trade and technical cooperation.

India-Seychelles Defense ties

  • In 1986, India deployed INS Vindhyagiri at Port of Victoria to abort an attempted coup against the then President Rene by the Defence Minister of the country.
  • The Seychelles Government has leased the Assumption Island to the Indian Navy to build overseas base operations in the island. The Island was leased to India for 30 years under an agreement signed in 2015. The agreement allows India to station Indian military personnel on the ground.
  • In 2018, PM Modi announced that India is to extend 100 million USD credit to Seychelles to develop defence capabilities.
  • Developing infrastructure on Assumption Island in Seychelles is a key piece in India’s proactive maritime strategy as it counters China’s moves in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Developing its infrastructure is being regarded as a “strategic asset” in India’s arsenal.

India-Seychelles Cultural Relations

  • With a significant presence of Indian Diaspora in Seychelles, cultural contacts between the two countries have been primarily community-driven with support from the two governments.
  • At the initiative of prominent Person of Indian Origin (PIO) associations in Seychelles, several Indian cultural troupes regularly visit Seychelles for performance.
  • In June 2018, Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) was signed with Seychelles to mark the friendship and goodwill between the two countries.              India-Seychelles Relation

India-Seychelles Environmental Ties

  • Blue Economy Protocol between India and Seychelles was signed in August 2015.
  • Recently, India has been accepted as an observer of the Indian Ocean Commission, of which Seychelles is a member.
  • With the ratification of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework Agreement in September 2017, Seychelles has officially become one of the Founding Members of ISA.

India-Seychelles Economic Ties

  • Trade between India and Seychelles amounted to only US$40 million in 2010-11 with the balance of trade heavily in India’s favour.
  • Tourism, fishing, petroleum exploration, communications and IT, computer education and pharmaceuticals have been identified as areas of economic cooperation between the two countries.
  • Both the countries signed a bilateral investment promotion agreement in 2010 and in 2012.

Significance of India-Seychelles relationship

  • Seychelles occupies a central place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ – ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’ and ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’.
  • The inauguration of these key projects demonstrates India’s privileged and time-tested role as a reliable partner of Seychelles for meeting its infrastructural, developmental and security requirements.
  • The geo-strategic importance of Seychelles’s location remains undiminished in contemporary times, and will become enhanced and China is fighting to get an upper hand which India must not allow.
  • India is seeking to recalibrate the global supply chain system through alternatives to the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative.
  • It is a testimony to the deep and friendly ties between the people of India and Seychelles.
  • Seychelles also forms a crucial part of India’s overall Africa outreach and in its Indo-Pacific vision of free, open, and rules-based maritime order.                India-Seychelles Relation
  • The Seychelles’ importance is high for India as New Delhi strives to tackle piracy in the Western Indian Ocean as well as battle terrorist threats from the sea.

ALSO READ : https://www.brainyias.com/china-iran-strategic-cooperation-pact/

Mussoorie Times

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