"Privileged" Seychelles-Indo Ties
07 February 2011 |
President James Michel has had talks with Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at the latter's residence in New Delhi during a 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," said Mr Michel.
"We have excellent relations with India, and during this visit we have continued to develop this privileged relationship."
During the meeting, Dr Singh praised the work of Seychelles in combating piracy and said "Seychelles is a pillar of strength and support for India".
He added that India will intensify its maritime surveillance in the Indian Ocean and support Seychelles in its efforts to ensure the maritime security of its waters.
India is now helping Seychelles with military training and capacity building, the fight against piracy and developing an information technology training centre.
Seychelles and India recently signed a military cooperation agreement to give the Special Forces Unit of the Seychelles People's Defence Forces concentrated training in special forces operations, VIP protection duties, commando operations and deep sea diving.
The SPDF has been receiving training at various institutes of the Indian Defence Forces for more than a decade. Â
President Michel and Prime Minister Singh met in June 2010 during the President's state visit to India. At that time, India said it would write off 45% of Seychelles' debt owed to its government and reschedule the rest over a 20-year period with the interest rate halved, as part of the "Paris Club formula" approach.
India has also pledged a defence grant worth US $5 million to boost Seychelles' capability to defend its territory against pirate attacks.
And the Indian government is writing off a $1.375m debt that Seychelles owes on a commercial loan with the Exim Bank (Export Import) of India.
The Exim Bank is giving the Development Bank of Seychelles a $10m line of credit on concessionary terms so small businesses can access funds for development.