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Speech BY MR. Patrick Pillay, Minister of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) on Wednesday 24th September, 2008 at 18:00 Hours at Vivekanand Yoga Club, High Commission of India, Le Chantier, Victoria

24.09.2008

Speech BY MR. Patrick Pillay, Minister of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) on Wednesday 24th September, 2008 at 18:00 Hours at Vivekanand Yoga Club, High Commission of India, Le Chantier, Victoria

Your Excellency,
Mr. Nag, High Commissioner of India
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen >

It is indeed a great pleasure to be with you all to celebrate the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Day.

I thank you Excellency, High Commissioner, for inviting me to this 44th anniversary of this important cooperation programme.

For more than four decades the ITEC Programme has been a model of South-South cooperation.

For us it constitutes a mainstay in the long standing and privileged relationship between India and Seychelles.

This programme has extended the linkages between our two countries, beyond that of historical and cultural to closer technical and economic cooperation.

We have benefited from training of government officials, deputation of experts from India, as well as project financing and studies.

The ITEC sponsored fellowships have helped us to improve the skills base of the public sector in a wide range of specialized areas such as public sector administration, banking and finance and ICT.

Over the last three years, about 30 officers have been trained under this programme and we are very grateful to India for such cooperation.

The services of Indian Technical Cooperation Officers, constitute another important feature of the ITEC programme.

We have thus been able to tap Indian knowhow in areas where local expertise is lacking.

The programme has trained personnel in critical fields, including the Military and Police Forces.

I am happy to note that ITEC has also served to train officials from my own Ministry as part of our training programme for Diplomats.

It is however, unfortunate that we are no longer benefitting from funded diplomatic courses.

I would like to take this opportunity to call on the Government of India through you, Excellency, to kindly re-consider offering funded Diplomatic courses to Seychelles bearing in mind our specificities.

ITEC, I should say, is a prominent example of how India accompanies us in our economic and social development.

Today the Indo-Seychelles relationship is nurtured on a much broader platform
- Rising flow of foreign direct investment, increased in trade, more intense interaction of India with its diaspora in Seychelles and increased cooperation in the field of Information technology.

In general, I am proud to say that India is becoming a very special partner in the new cooperation that is now unfolding in the economic south.

Your Excellency,

While Seychelles is trying to find new ways and means of strengthening its cooperation with the Asian countries, both awakening Asian giants, India and China are looking at the economic south, in particular Africa which holds tremendous potential for development and which is showing a new dynamism for economic growth.

Together India and China are redefining the global economic landscape, giving a new thrust to south south cooperation.

I would like to stress here that south south cooperation which, since the nineteen sixties, was seen as a substitute to north south cooperation is today a complement.

It is no more about trade only.

It is more importantly about cross-border investment, technology transfer, economic integration, and about developing our economies and societies together.

The reforms we are implementing to further open up our economy, to be among the top countries for ease of doing business, to restructure our economy and to open economic space for all and empower our people, will no doubt help us to harness that new dynamism generated by India and China.

I am confident that there is enough economic space for more foreign participation in Seychelles and we trust the Indian Government, the Indian private sector and institutions and the Indian diaspora can be of valuable assistance.

I should like to end by emphasizing once more that the India
- Seychelles relationship is entering a new phase.

Globalization is bringing many new opportunities to both our countries.

Some of these opportunities can better be harnessed if we adapt our approach to cooperation.

The resumption of the Indo Seychelles Joint Commission next year is therefore vital in achieving our objectives.

Let me once again congratulate India for the ITEC and thank you Excellency for the tremendous contribution that India keeps making to our development.

I thank you for your attention.

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