INDO-SEYCHELLES FRIENDSHIP FLOURISHES IN DIVERSE DIRECTIONS
The President of the Republic of India, H.E. Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil has praised Seychelles’ achievements in economic reform, democratic governance and the fight against piracy during a banquet for President James Michel and his delegation at the Presidential Palace last night.
“Your Excellency, you lead a country with strong democratic and cultural traditions. We, in India, have great admiration for the economic reforms you have successfully carried out in Seychelles, as also for the immense courage and conviction you have shown in tackling the problem of piracy, which affects us all and requires international co-operation,” said President Patil in her address to the President.
President Patil said that the safety and security of the Indian Ocean is a shared objective of India and Seychelles, and that the waters of the Indian Ocean have helped in connecting the two nations and brought them together since ancient times.
“The bonds between us are rich and infused with history. The links between us extend to every aspect of human life, be it social, economic, cultural, intellectual or political. Since your last State visit to India in 2005, we have moved forward a long way in our bilateral cooperation and engagement. We meet today as two vibrant democracies that share common values and common goals; and when our bilateral relations have reached a new dimension. India stands ready to be a full and equal partner in the realisation of your vision of economic development of Seychelles and in contributing to your security, especially in the face of piracy,” said President Patil.
President Patil said that President Michel’s visit will open a new chapter in relations between Seychelles and India as the two sides have finalised several initiatives to build a true partnership of friendship and cooperation.
President James Michel agreed with President Patil that the Indo-Seychelles relationship has been greatly expanded, where there is interaction between the two countries’ Governments, Parliaments, Judiciaries and Private Sectors.
The President noted that there is an increasing flow of foreign direct investment, rise in trade, more active interaction of India with its Diaspora in Seychelles and increased cooperation in the fields of information technology, education and in the security areas.
“We are proud that this bilateral partnership which is based on shared values, also constitutes a firm and common commitment by both sides to work for prosperity, social justice and cooperation for a global order, that is marked by peace, security and equity…
I would like to thank you, your Government and the People of India for your invaluable assistance and unwavering support towards our fight against the scourge of piracy in the Indian Ocean. We deeply appreciate India’s role to combat this common threat, not only to our two peace-loving nations, but also to international maritime security, shipping and trade in this part of the world,” said President Michel in his address.
President Michel also thanked the Government of India for help given to address many challenges in other areas, especially that of human resources development, where the India Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) has immensely contributed to skills development and capacity building in Seychelles. The President also noted that the Pan African E network and the setting up of the IT Centre are practical projects of ‘great historical significance to Seychelles.’
“The people to people contact characterizing our relationship shows much in evidence. There are presently more than twenty Seychellois students studying in India. Seychellois find specialized medical treatment in Indian hospitals. The tourism potential is on the increase. The Indian Diaspora in Seychelles is a strong player in our economy,” said President Michel.
President Michel said that Seychelles supports India’s candidature for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council as well as India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2011-2012.
President Michel has extended an invitation to President Patil to visit Seychelles at a mutually convenient time.