INDIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER BIDS FAREWELL
The Indian High Commissioner to Seychelles, H.E. A.K. Nag has paid a farewell call on President James Michel at State House this morning following a three year tenure in Seychelles.
President James Michel thanked High Commissioner Nag for his dedication and efforts to do everything possible to reinforce cooperation between Seychelles and India and in this way further cement the excellent relationship for the good of the two countries.
“ We will not forget your support and assistance during the times of economic difficulty, as India has been a faithful partner in the economic recovery process. I will remain firm in my commitment to reinforce our friendship, and I hope your successor will continue to work in your footsteps so that we can together build the bridge over the ocean between Seychelles and India,” said President Michel.
The President and High Commissioner Nag reviewed the various projects and cooperation that India and Seychelles had succeeded in establishing in the last few years, and the possibilities for further development.
High Commissioner Nag spoke highly of his professional experience in Seychelles, particularly in establishing greater maritime security in the Seychelles region following the increasing in piracy incidents from 2008 onwards.
“The future of Seychelles is very bright. In 2008 Seychelles was facing serious financial problems… and since then you have done remarkably well to reform the economy… I foresee further strengthening of the relations between India and Seychelles, not only with respect to strengthening the security apparatus but also infrastructure development in Seychelles,” said Mr. Nag.
- India is currently aiding Seychelles in military training and capacity building, the fight against piracy, telemedicine as well as IT training.
- Seychelles and India recently signed a military cooperation agreement, to provide for the Special Forces Unit of Seychelles People’s Defense Forces, Tazar, to train in India for concentrated training on Special Forces Operations, VIP Protection Duties, Commando Operations and Deep Sea Diving. The SPDF has been receiving training in various institutes of the Indian Defence Forces for more than a decade.
- The Indian Navy also intensified maritime patrolling in the Seychelles EEZ since 2008, which is ongoing.
- India donated a Dornier surveillance aircraft to Seychelles, which is currently under construction at Hindustan Aeronautics, Bangalore. In the meantime a Dornier aircraft is in Seychelles on loan, together with a 33 person Indian air crew, in order to operate the aircraft while undertaking the training of local counterparts.
- President James Michel inaugurated the Seychelles-India Centre for Information Communication Technology in April this year. It was built was an estimated expenditure of $US 1 million on the part of Government of India, with the cost of civil construction, land line connectivity and other costs were borne by the Government of Seychelles. The University of Seychelles is operating this Centre along with the Tele education facility that has been provided by India to Seychelles under the Pan –African Satellite communication project.
- President Michel made an official State Visits to India in June 2010 and a working visit to the Sustainable Development Summit in Delhi in January 2011.During the June 2010 visit, President Michel and Prime Minister Singh met to discuss economic and military cooperation. India announced it would write off 45% of Seychelles debt owed to the Government of India, and reschedule the remainder over a 20 year period with the interest rates halved, as part of the ‘Paris Club formula’ approach. India has also pledged a defence grant worth 5 million US dollars to boost Seychelles capability to defend its territory against pirate incursions. The Government of India is also writing off 1.375 million US dollar debt which Seychelles owes on a commercial loan with the Exim Bank (Export Import) of India. The Exim Bank of India is also giving the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS) a 10 million US dollar line of credit at concessionary terms, for small businesses to be able to access funding for development.