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Translation of Prime Minister's Press Statement during the State Visit of President of Seychelles to India

June 25, 2018

Excellency President
Danny Faure,
Honourable members of the Seychelles delegation,
Friends from media,

It is my great privilege to welcome President Faure and his delegation. Memories of my visit to Seychelles in 2015, which was my first visit to the Indian Ocean region, are still fresh in my mind. In that same year the then President James Mitchell had also visited India.

These visits reflect our commitment to our intense strategic partnership. Since the independence of Seychelles in June 1976, there have been special relations between both our democratic countries. Today, India and Seychelles are key strategic partners. We both support the core values of democracy and equally share geo-strategic vision of maintaining peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean.

Today's talks between President and myself have been very meaningful. Seychelles has achieved the highest Human Development Index in Africa and has emerged as one of the leaders of Blue Economy. I congratulate President Faure on these achievements very much.

India and Seychelles are linked together with the Indian Ocean. Sustainable development of ocean economy in a secured maritime environment is very crucial for prosperity of our citizens. We can only take advantage of opportunities provided by the ocean by successfully confronting conventional and non-conventional threats. In our talks today, we have reiterated our commitment towards working jointly to take full advantage of ocean based Blue Economy. There is a deep strategic convergence on cooperation between us to deal with maritime challenges.

As close partners it is our shared responsibility that we ensure collective maritime security of our EEZ and coastal areas. We have threats from international crimes like piracy, drugs, human trafficking, and illegal exploitation of maritime resources. We need to increase our cooperation and alertness against these. India is committed to strengthen Seychelles’ defence capabilities and maritime infrastructure and increase the capacity of its defence personnel. This will enable Seychelles to effectively deal with both traditional and non-conventional maritime challenges and to protect its maritime resources. In this context, I am happy to announce a credit line of US $ 100 million for Seychelles. From this credit line Seychelles will be able to purchase defence equipment from India to build its maritime capacity. The second Dornier aircraft which I had promised during my visit to Seychelles in March 2015 is ready to be handed over tomorrow. You all have seen its model just now. It will arrive there on time to participate in the National Day festival of Seychelles on June 29.

We agree to work together on the Assumption Island project keeping in mind each other’s interest in this regard. We are widely collaborating to undertake hydrography surveys to improve the availability of navigation charts. As part of this effort, we have signed an MOU today for the exchange of White Shipping Data. During our discussions today, I have reiterated India's commitment towards effective contributions to projects of national importance in Seychelles. These projects will not only help Seychelles’ economy but they will also help to further intensify our mutual relations.

Under the Special grant, India is ready to finance three civilian infrastructure projects in Seychelles. These include Government House, new Police Headquarters and Attorney General's Office.

Today, we have also signed an MoU, under which we will provide financial assistance to Seychelles to start some high quality, high visibility and people-centric Small Development Projects. I have assured President Faure that India will always remain committed to increase the capacity development of Seychelles by providing training to their defence personnel including the common citizens of Seychelles under ITEC and other such programs. Indian experts will be sent to Seychelles on deputation in the areas as required by Seychelles. Contribution of the Indian community in the economy of Seychelles is a matter of pride for us. Shared culture between our two countries and the people here is a matter of pride for us and it provides many possibilities to further intensify our relations. I thank President Faure for gifting us two big Aldabra turtles. We have received such long living turtles from Seychelles earlier also. They were witness to three centuries. Creatures like this and other animals and flora and fauna are looked upon with great reverence and love in India. These long-living turtles will also be a symbol of our eternal friendship and its auspicious effects.

Once again I very warmly welcome President Faure and his delegation and wish that their visit to India is a pleasurable one. I also convey greetings on my behalf and on behalf of 1.25 billion Indians to the President and citizens of Seychelles for their National Day on June 29.

Disclaimer: PM’s Speech was delivered in Hindi. This is an approximate translation of Speech.

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