‘Seychelles committed to Indian naval base’

Seychelles is expecting India’s evaluation team to visit the spot soon, PresidentJames Michel told The Hindu.  

A plot of land for India to build its first naval base in the Indian Ocean region has been allocated by the Seychelles government in the Assumption Island.

Lifting the veil of secrecy around the planned project, President James Michel of the Seychelles told The Hindu: “This is a joint project between India and Seychelles involving our two Defence Forces in enhancing our mutual security along our western seaboard. Seychelles is absolutely committed to the project.”

Seychelles is expecting India’s evaluation team to visit the spot soon, President Michel said. The project has acquired significance following China acquiring its first African naval base in Djibouti in November. Once ready, the naval base to be built by the defence forces of India, and Seychelles will help India exercise greater control over the Indian Ocean’s western region all the way to the piracy-prone eastern African coastline.

The base will be one of the major staging posts for a large maritime security network that India is setting up with the help of the various Indian Ocean region partner countries.

Apart from the naval base, India is set to acquire a fully operational coastal radar system (CRS) based in Seychelles from March 2016, Mr. Michel said. The CRS will provide India with the ability to gather intelligence and assist in surveillance operations of the vital energy lanes near Seychelles.

“The Maritime Radar Project is a major development for Seychelles’ and India’s mutual desire for security in the field of maritime security,” said President Michel, who was sworn in for a third term on December 20.

Fighting piracy

Security operation in the Indian Ocean region will also be helped by the leadership role that Seychelles has secured for itself in the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), which will hold its first meeting in Mumbai on January 31, 2016. “Both India and Seychelles have a vested interest in securitising the Western Indian Ocean. We have forged a partnership that has gone a fair distance in eradicating the scourge of Somalia-based piracy as well as other maritime security issues.”

Mr. Michel acknowledged that India has been steadily increasing its maritime and security cooperation with Seychelles and that a new patrol vessel from India will be handed over to Seychelles in mid-January 2016.

“These initiatives have greatly helped our security environment,” said the President who visited New Delhi in August. He had been persistent in building a security network to prevent piracy, arms trafficking and financial fraud in the banks of the Indian Ocean region islands.

India, with its strong intelligence network, will also be helpful in maritime law enforcement by Seychelles, he added. While declaring support for India’s maritime security plans, President Michel pointed out that small nations are equally important in the contemporary world order and need to be taken seriously for the sake of preserving the security and order.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 10:14:51 PM |

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