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Seychelles President meets with Indian Prime Minister: The Indian Ocean is a bridge that unites us and our aspirations of shared prosperity for our peoples

Seychelles President meets with Indian Prime Minister: The Indian Ocean is a bridge that unites us and our aspirations of shared prosperity for our peoples (Forimmediaterelease.net) Seychelles President James Michel received the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, at State House this morning. The two leaders discussed state affairs in a tête-à-tête meeting before joining a bilateral meeting which was attended by Vice President Danny Faure, Seychelles and Indian government ministers and other senior officials from Seychelles and Indian delegations.

In his introductory remarks at the bilateral meeting, President Michel welcomed the Prime Minister and his delegation to Seychelles and expressed his appreciation for the way this historic visit will bring additional impetus “to diversify an already vibrant partnership” between the two countries.

“We are indeed privileged, to have someone of your status and a great friend and ally of Seychelles in our midst. Your visit also exemplifies the special place Seychelles occupies in the hearts and minds of the Indian people. Your visit highlights the special bonds of friendship between India and Seychelles, and marks yet another milestone in the close relationship between our two nations. This relationship is rightly characterized as extraordinary and privileged,” said President Michel.

The discussions centered on issues of mutual interest, cooperation projects, and agreements between Seychelles and India on matters of security, health, environment, the Blue Economy concept, capacity building, airline links, tourism, climate change, and the importance of people-to-people contact.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of four agreements between the two countries.

President Michel and Prime Minister Modi addressed members of the Seychelles and Indian media following their meeting, and highlighted the special and privileged historical relations that exist between the two countries that are founded on deep mutual trust and confidence.

“We have shared historical and cultural affinities. They underpin our relations. They have grown over the years and encompass a vast range of activities. Today, India is a valued and strategic partner for Seychelles. Everybody recognizes India’s footprints on many facets of our economic, social, and cultural development. We have an exemplary partnership in the defense and security sectors. This is very much reflected in our fight against piracy and the joint patrolling of our oceans and also the training of our defense personnel,” said President Michel.

The President thanked India for its support and willingness to work with Seychelles in developing the Blue Economy concept. The two leaders have agreed to establish a Joint Working Group to expand their cooperation.

“We are very encouraged by the willingness of the government and people of India to work with us in the context of the development of our Blue Economy. This is an area that holds great promise for our nations. The Blue Economy is all about ownership by regional states of the resources in our oceans around our islands and our coasts… India is a leader, and Seychelles looks to India not only at the bilateral level, but also regionally and globally. Both our countries have a shared interest in the security of the Indian Ocean,” said the President.

Prime Minister Modi thanked the President for the extraordinary and warm welcome to Seychelles. He noted that Seychelles is a vital partner in the Indian Ocean, thus he chose Seychelles as his first destination in his tour of the region. He remarked that Seychelles has made “impressive progress” that has shown “size is no barrier to the scale of achievements.”

Prime Minister Modi also spoke of the need to strengthen maritime security cooperation in the region.

“This visit and my conversation with President Michel have reinforced my conviction in the strength and the importance of this relationship. Our security partnership is strong. It has enabled us to fulfill our shared responsibility to advance maritime security in the region. It is a privilege to be a partner of Seychelles in the development of its security capabilities. Today, I am pleased to announce that we will be giving one more Dornier aircraft to Seychelles,” said Prime Minister Modi.

He added, “Later today, I will have the honor to launch the Coastal Surveillance Radar Project. This is another symbol of our cooperation. These steps will enable Seychelles to secure these beautiful islands and the vast expanse of waters around them. Seychelles will also continue to make an enormous contribution to the safety and security of the Indian Ocean region. Our agreement today on hydrographic survey adds a new dimension to our maritime cooperation. I thank Seychelles for their confidence in India. We also hope that Seychelles will soon be a full partner in the maritime security cooperation between India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.”

Furthermore, Prime Minister Modi informed the press that India has decided to grant free visas for three months to the citizens of Seychelles and extend the facility of visa-on-arrival. Indian citizens already have visa-free entry to Seychelles. Prime Minister Modi furthermore welcomed the launch of direct air services to India by Air Seychelles last December.

Both leaders expressed strong sentiments on the issue of climate change, especially as island nations are most vulnerable to its impact.

Prime Minister Modi stressed that both Seychelles and India are “deeply committed” to combating climate change and called upon the developing countries to help in this effort.

“We had a strong convergence of views on climate change. We are two nations that are vulnerable to its impact. And we are deeply committed to combating it. We stressed our shared commitment to strong national action. We also called for a strong and ambitious global effort, especially from the developed world, on climate change. I reiterated our consistent support to the position of the Small Island Developing States. Equally, I renewed India's strong commitment to our partnership with Africa,” said Prime Minister Modi.

Prime Minister Modi also invited President Michel to visit India again, an honor which President Michel has accepted.

“It is always a good experience to visit ‘Incredible India.’ India is a beautiful country where its unity is woven in the tapestry of diversity. I look forward to meeting you in Delhi in the course of the year. In fact let us remember that the ocean that overlaps both our shores is a bridge that unites us and our aspirations of shared prosperity for our peoples,” said President Michel.

PHOTO (L-R): Seychelles President James Michel&India Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi

MEDIA CONTACT: seychellesupdatednews@googlemail.com

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