President Michel meets with Prime Minister Modi: Seychelles is a key strategic partner for India
Seychelles President James Michel met with the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi at Hyderbad House in New Delhi, during his third state visit to India.
The two leaders discussed issues concerning defence, the Blue Economy, climate change, capacity building, investment, economic progress, as well as technology and innovation projects.
The two leaders then joined their respective delegations for a working lunch where they discussed bilateral issues.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport, Mr. Joel Morgan, and the Indian Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Mr. Prakash Javadekar, then exchanged several signed agreements between the Republic of Seychelles and the Republic of India concerning Finance (Agreement on Exchange of Information and Assistance in the Collection of Taxes), Agriculture, Maritime Security (donation of a second Dornier plane), the Blue Economy, and Air Connectivity (Bilateral Air Services Agreement).
President Michel and Prime Minister Modi addressed the media, to expound the progress of their exchanges and express their satisfaction concerning the relations between the two countries.
In his press statement, President Michel said “My visit comes barely five months after the memorable and fruitful visit of Prime Minister Modi to Seychelles in March of this year. It illustrates the unique and special relationship that our two countries share, based on our shared values and aspirations. It is a relationship which is strategic, historical, multi-faceted and longstanding. The vibrant Indian community in Seychelles which is part and parcel of the long history of our country and which shapes our common destiny, is a catalyst in bolstering this strategic partnership and our convergent bilateral interests.”
Mr. Michel expressed Seychelles’ appreciation for the financial support of India, which he said will make a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of Seychelles.
“I have expressed my gratitude for India’s commitment to further expand its partnership in the development of human resources and capacity building. This will help us to reinforce our resilience as a nation and to meet our vision of people- centred development. I have also expressed my gratitude for the donation of another Dornier aircraft. It will significantly reinforce our security capabilities in terms of surveillance of our ocean space, and that of the Indian Ocean region as a whole,” he added.
President Michel said that Seychelles is pleased to have India as a partner in the development of its Blue Economy as this gives the two countries the chance to build economic opportunities while also sustaining future generations.
“This visit has reinforced our relationship and strategic partnership to a new level. Prime Minister Modi and I have expressed our commitment to continue working closely together in order to continue building a vibrant and dynamic future for Seychelles and India,” said Mr. Michel.
In his statement to the press, Prime Minister Modi said;” It is always a great pleasure to welcome home a special friend, which President Michel certainly is. I am also delighted to reciprocate President Michel’s exceptional hospitality in March, this year. He has led his country with great vision. He is a strong global voice of concern on climate change, especially for small island countries. Excellency, just as we appreciate your country’s beauty, we admire your Nation’s progress. Let me repeat what I said in Seychelles: Your country shows that size is no barrier to the scale of achievements. President Michel has also been instrumental for the progress in our relationship. We value this greatly because Seychelles is a key strategic partner for India.”
Mr. Modi announced that India will gift one more Interceptor Coastguard boat to Seychelles, in addition to the Dornier aircraft that was announced in March.
Furthermore Prime Minister Modi added; “Our bilateral agreement for cooperation on blue economy is a huge step forward in our relationship and in promoting sustainable ocean economy in the region. We 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… I am confident that this milestone year for our relationship will be the springboard for taking our strategic partnership to a new level.”
The working lunch was also attended by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport, Mr. Joel Morgan, the Minister for Finance, Trade & the Blue Economy, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, the President’s Diplomatic Adviser, Ambassador Callixte d’Offay, the Chief Military Adviser to the President, Colonel Clifford Roseline, the Seychelles High Commissioner to India, Mr. Waven William, the Chief Press Secretary in the Office of the President, Ms. Srdjana Janosevic, the Presidential Envoy for Climate Change and the Environment, Dr. Nirmal Jivan Shah, the CEO of the Seychelles Investment Board, Mr. Rupert Simeon and the CEO of the Islands Development Company, Mr. Glenny Savy.
- For a variety of photos of the meeting see:
- For the full statement made by President Michel see: http://www.statehouse.gov.sc/speeches.php?news_id=2850
- For the full statement made by Prime Minister Modi: http://pmindia.gov.in/en/news_updates/text-of-pms-statement-to-the-media-with-president-michel-of-seychelles/?comment=disable
- During the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Seychelles in March this year, four agreements in the development of infrastructure on Assumption Island, in renewable energy and in the maritime sector were signed. It was also announced that India would give one more Dornier aircraft to Seychelles (first one was donated in 2013). Furthermore, Mr. Modi announced that India would grant free visas for three months to the citizens of Seychelles and extend the facility of visa-on-arrival.
- In 2010, India wrote off 45% of Seychelles debt owed to the Government of India, and rescheduled the remainder over a 20 year period with the interest rates halved, as part of the ‘Paris Club formula’ approach.
- In 2010, the Government of India also wrote off 1.375 million US dollar debt which Seychelles owed on a commercial loan with the Exim Bank (Export Import) of India and pledged it would give the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS) a 10 million US dollar line of credit at concessionary terms. India also pledged a defence grant worth 5 million US dollars to boost Seychelles capability to defend its territory against pirate incursions.