DFA refutes Assomption claims
The Government of the Republic of Seychelles wishes to categorically refute the allegations that the island of Assomption has been leased or sold to the Government of the Republic of India for the purposes of the establishment of a unilateral military base. Both the Government of the Republic of Seychelles and the Republic of India have signed an agreement that will require ratification in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. In the case of India, only Cabinet ratification is required. In Seychelles’ case, the approval of the National Assembly of the Republic of Seychelles will be sought.
The Agreement provides for India to finance the development of facilities on Assomption Island to assist the Defence Forces of Seychelles to extend its capacity for maritime security, protection, effective control and monitoring, search and rescue and environmental disaster risk reduction and management. The facilities that are planned to be built comprise of air and maritime traffic, communication and radar facilities. An Environmental Impact Assessment has to be carried out by an approved independent person before the Facilities are built. No Indian workers are on the Island and nobody has been relocated.
The Facilities which will be owned and controlled by Seychelles will be jointly managed by the Defence Forces of Seychelles and India for the duration of the Agreement. This arrangement will be for a period of 20 years. On the expiration of the said term, if both parties agree it will be renewed for periods not exceeding 10 years. However, either party will be able to terminate the Agreement 12 months before the expiration of any of the said terms. Seychelles will be able to suspend the Agreement at any time under exceptional circumstances for such time that the circumstances that provoke the decision mitigate.
Bona fide third parties may be able to use the airstrip and the jetty subject to the standard procedures in place.
As part of its operation, the Defence Forces of India will not use the Facilities to stock arms or carry nuclear arms, and the Defence Forces of Seychelles will be informed and will monitor whenever arms are brought onto the Island for the purpose of the operations of the Facilities. The Agreement also makes it clear that operations using the Facilities will not be used for purposes of war.
The Facilities will be built in a designated area south of the Island and our government may allow other developments that are not prejudicial to the Facilities (such as tourism).
The Government of Seychelles maintains that the proposed Facilities will help in preserving the territorial integrity of the Republic of Seychelles and further ensure that any threat within Seychelles’ expansive 1.37 square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone can be adequately addressed. In addition, the National Assembly of the Republic of Seychelles; elected by their respective constituents will debate the merits of the agreement after its submission for ratification.
To reiterate, the Government of the Republic of Seychelles would like to clarify that the island Assomption, as well as the facilities to be built there, remains in perpetuity part of the Republic of Seychelles and to the benefit of the people of Seychelles.