SAF DORNIER AIRCRAFT ARRIVES
President James Michel, the Commander-in-Chief of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces, attended the welcoming ceremony of the new Seychelles Air Force Dornier 228 Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft at the SAF base, Pointe Larue, this morning. The plane is a donation from the Republic of India, and was handed over the Seychelles Government by the Hon. A.K. Anthony, the Minister for Defence of India, in Delhi in February this year.
” India and Seychelles have developed a partnership to protect our territory and our sovereignty, and to protect our blue economy. For me this is a very important moment… with this plane we have increased our capacity to defend our interests, our resources and our sovereignty. At the same time, it shows Seychelles is advancing forward, that we are developing, and reaffirming our positions in the Indian Ocean in a solid and clear way,” said the President.
President thanked the Government of India for this significant donation, in particular Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who pledged the aircraft during the President’s state visit to India in June 2010.
“I would like to thank India for this donation. It shows the strong friendship between our two countries, which we will continue to develop, …together we will work to ensure the security and development of the region, and the resources of our economy.”
The President said that the SAF would continue to develop its aircraft fleet, in order to continue to develop its leadership position in the region in many fields, despite the constraints of its size.
” We need to continue to develop our capacity, to develop our people. It is sometimes difficult considering our size… but we have a role to play in the region and in the international community, and we need to meet the needs of Seychelles in terms of security.”
- The ceremony was attended by Vice-President Danny Faure, the Chief Justice Mr. Fredrick Egonda- Ntende, the Indian High Commissioner to Seychelles, Mr. Thanglura Darlong, the Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Leopold Payet, SAF Commanding Officer, Major Michael Pouponneau, and large number of civilian and military dignitaries.
- The Seychelles Air Force came into existence in 1979, when the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces were established. It has in recent years been known as the Air Wing of the Seychelles Coast Guard, as it became part of anti-piracy patrols of the SCG. It then changed operational command, and is commanded by Major Michael Pouponneau.
- The Dornier military aircraft was built at produced at Hindustan Aeronautics, Bangalore India. During its construction the Government of India deployed an in-service Dornier aircraft from its own fleet, to Seychelles, to carry out maritime surveillance.
- During President Michel’s state visit to India in June 2010, the Government of India also pledged a 5 million US dollar defence grant to Seychelles.