INDIA REINFORCES SEYCHELLES ANTI-PIRACY OPERATIONS WITH NEW AIRCRAFT DONATIONS
The Government of India has pledged a donation of 3 new air surveillance assets to the Seychelles; 1 Dornier surveillance aircraft and 2 Chetak helicopters.
The announcement follows a meeting today between President James Michel and the Indian Minister for Defence A.K. Antony.
“This is concrete example of the special partnership Seychelles has with India. Together we are ensuring the security of the Indian Ocean and the free flow of maritime traffic,” said President Michel.
President Michel thanked the Government and the people of India for the important donation.
“We are grateful to India for all the assistance we have received in the fight against piracy, which will consolidate our defence capabilities. This donation comes shortly after my visit to India, and I am pleased that your cooperation is continuing on such a fast track,” said President Michel.
The military aircraft and helicopters will be produced at Hindustan Aeronautics, Bangalore in the coming months. Minister Antony said that India is aware of the urgent needs of Seychelles for increased air surveillance capacity, and that the Government of India is deploying an in-service Dornier aircraft from its own fleet, to Seychelles.
“New Delhi will try to supply the new aircraft in 15 months. During this period, India will provide one of her in-service Dornier Aircraft to carry out maritime surveillance,” said Minister Antony.
Minister Antony also said India would provide assistance for new coastal radar systems and that the Indian Navy will also make additional visits this year to conduct surveillance and hydrographic survey in Seychelles waters.
India will also help Seychelles in capacity building of their armed forces. There will be training programmes for the Special Forces, as well as the operation of coast radar systems.
The Minister expressed his concern over the increasing reach of Somali pirates around the Indian Ocean, and said that the problem of piracy affects all countries of the world.
“This is a problem which calls for cooperation among all countries. The Indian Ocean links us all and is critical for our economic interests. We must cooperate to ensure peace and stability in this region,” said Minister Antony.
During President Michel’s state visit to India in June, the Government of India pledged a 5 million US dollar defence grant to Seychelles.