State Visit, India, June 2018 - Banquet Hosted by H.E President Sri Ram Nath Kovind
26 June 2018 | Foreign Affairs
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be here today and I would like to thank you for your very kind invitation. This indicates the strength of our relation and the mutual importance you attach to the relations between our two countries.
I also wish to express to you, Mr President, and to the people of India, my profound gratitude for the exceptional warmth of your welcome. We truly feel your friendship – your dosti.
It is well-known that the Indian people have a unique gift for making visitors feel at home, and the outstanding hospitality extended to my delegation and myself has been conducive to very fruitful exchanges with all parties involved in the agenda of this visit.
It is my honour to convey, in return, the good wishes of the people of Seychelles to the people of India.
I trust that the outcome of this visit will provide the right impetus to our relations to continue to flourish.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1976, there has been a number of very high level visits to Seychelles. Notable amongst these are the following: Her Excellency the Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi in 1981, Her Excellency the President Pratibha Patil in 2012 and His Excellency the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015. There have equally been a number of very high level visits by my predecessors to India.
These visits have done much to enhance the special connection Seychelles and India share, and reflect the deepest friendship our countries share.
The history of this connection is as old as the documented human history of Seychelles, illustrated at the Records Centre of the National Archives of India in Puducherry. It is remarkable that 5 Indians were amongst the first settlers who travelled from Puducherry to Seychelles in 1770.
Today, I wish to celebrate this historical and emotional connection with India and give my commitment to work with you to preserve and nurture this unbreakable link of mutual trust and mature friendship between us.
All around the world there is interest and admiration for India’s achievements, as a country with a rich history and a long civilization.
It is amongst the fastest economies in the world and it has become a knowledge superpower.
India is today a global player and its voice is listened to on all the global issues of our time. It is the world’s largest democracy and Seychelles’ biggest neighbouring state.
As Seychelles was found just short after 250 years ago and as we stan proud to celebrate 42 years of independence in a few days, it is appropriate to reflect on how very fortunate we are to be in close proximity to a very friendly and respected neighbour like India.
Seychelles and India enjoy very warm and mutually supportive ties.
Our relationships are based on a profound understanding and appreciation of each other’s concerns.
We share vested interests in our common oceanic space and subscribe to the doctrine of security and growth for all in the region.
We share a common development cooperation outlook based on South-South cooperation and the principle of international solidarity.
We believe in a world of peace, equity and a rules-based international order.
We are friends and partners, standing together to face common challenges.
We greatly value this friendship.
Our friendship is reflected in the solid and endurable partnership we have put in place over the years in many sectors of development and human endeavours.
We have achieved a lot so far and today we are reaping the benefits of our cooperation program in fields such as health, education, public transport, defence, tourism and capacity building.
Our excellent bilateral relations have extended to the global sphere where we have demonstrated a common understanding on many global issues.
We appreciate India for giving to Seychelles its full support on issues of relevance to Small Island Developing States, including on the need for a different international development cooperation paradigm, and on climate change.
Recently, we became founding members of the International Solar Alliance, the first international organization to be based in India.
We are equally highly committed to collaborating in the maritime security sector, especially in the Indian Ocean region. Our joint counter-piracy work continues in the context of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. In this regard, this year (alongside the UAE) we share the co-chairmanship of the Working Group on Operations at Sea which is expected to meet in the margins of next month’s 21st Plenary of the CGPCS Plenary in Nairobi, Kenya.
The 9th India-Seychelles Joint Commission which took place in Seychelles between 14th and 15th May this year, provided an important platform for our two countries to engage even further and elevate cooperation both bilaterally and globally.
We marked another milestone in our relationship today as we signed new Agreements and MoUs in culture, cyber security, maritime cooperation, diplomacy, infrastructure development and the twinning of Panaji, Goa, and Victoria, Seychelles.
Tonight I want to avail this opportunity for me to thank the Government of India for making available a grant which will allow Seychelles to build a Government House which will accommodate several government ministries and Department, a new police headquarters and a new building to house the Attorney General’s Chambers.
I am also grateful for the second line of credit amounting to 100 US dollars which was announced by Prime Minister Modi which will assist the Seychelles Defence Forces. I thank the Indian Government for the donation of the second Dornier which will help in our maritime surveillance.
On behalf of the People of Seychelles and Government, I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude towards India for supporting Seychelles with the construction of three thousand houses and a new dam by way of a grant and soft loan.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me therefore take the singular opportunity of my first State Visit to India to express my People’s and my Government’s sincere gratitude to the Indian Government and to the Indian People for the role India has played historically, as it continues to do so today, in the national development of Seychelles.
Our relationship is very warm, vibrant and dynamic and my Government remains committed to invest in its continuity and growth.
I wish to draw to a conclusion by extending to you an invitation to undertake a State Visit to Seychelles at a mutually convenient time in the near future.
I now invite you to join me in a toast:
- to the good health and success of His Excellency, President Sri Ram Nath Kovind;
to the everlasting friendship between Seyc