SEYCHELLES AND INDIA DEVELOP PRIVELEGED RELATIONSHIP
President James Michel has met with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the Prime Minister’s residence in New Delhi, during the President’s working visit to India this week.
“We have reviewed the progress we have made in our cooperation projects, in the fields of maritime security, IT learning as well as education, and considered how we can intensify these partnerships. We have excellent relations with India and during this visit we have continued to develop this privileged relationship,” said President Michel.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Singh commended the work of the Seychelles to combat piracy and said that “Seychelles is a pillar of strength and support for India.”
The Prime Minister said that India would intensify its maritime surveillance efforts in the Indian Ocean and support Seychelles in its efforts to ensure the maritime security of its waters.
India is currently aiding Seychelles in military training and capacity building, the fight against piracy, as well as the development of an IT Training Centre.
Seychelles and India recently signed a military cooperation agreement, to provide for the Special Forces Unit of Seychelles People’s Defense Forces, Tazar, to train in India for concentrated training on Special Forces Operations, VIP Protection Duties, Commando Operations and Deep Sea Diving. The SPDF has been receiving training in various institutes of the Indian Defence Forces for more than a decade.
President Michel and Prime Minister Singh met in June 2010 during the President’s State Visit to India. During the June meeting India announced it would write off 45% of Seychelles debt owed to the Government of India, and reschedule the remainder over a 20 year period with the interest rates halved, as part of the ‘Paris Club formula’ approach. India has also pledged a defence grant worth 5 million US dollars to boost Seychelles capability to defend its territory against pirate incursions.
The Government of India is also writing off 1.375 million US dollar debt which Seychelles owes on a commercial loan with the Exim Bank (Export Import) of India. The Exim Bank of India is also giving the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS) a 10 million US dollar line of credit at concessionary terms, for small businesses to be able to access funding for development.