Salient Agreement of Assomption facility with NA, press and public
Following the visits of the members of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee, the International Affairs Committee of the National Assembly as well as the Press Corps to the Island of Assomption; the Government of the Republic of Seychelles has officially given the the members of the National Assembly copies of the proposed salient agreement between the Republic of Seychelles and the Republic of India on the establishment of facilities on the island of Assomption.
In the spirit of transparency, the Department of Foreign Affairs is sharing the Salient Agreement with the public. Follow the link at the bottom of the page to view.
The following extract of the speeches of both the Secretary of Sate for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Barry Faure and H.E. Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary of India serves as a forward to the Salient Agreement as linked below.
Public Statement at the signing of the revised Agreement between Seychelles and India on the Development of Facilities on Assomption, 27th January 2018
Excellency, Vice President of Seychelles and Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Excellency, Foreign Secretary of India, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar,
Members of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Excellency, Foreign Secretary,
The revised agreement on the Development of Facilities on Assomption that we sign today is essentially an improvement on the original text which was signed on 11th March 2015.
It all started before March 2015. In view of the excellent historic relations between our two countries and in the context of our mutually beneficial cooperation over a wide range of areas, particularly in defence, where we already had a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation; Seychelles requested the support and cooperation of the Government of the Republic of India to assist the Government of the Republic of Seychelles to enhance our maritime surveillance and defence capabilities over the vast ocean space of over 1.3 million square kilometres that forms our Exclusive Economic Zone.
More specifically, the Government of the Republic of Seychelles wanted to:
- enhance its control and maritime surveillance over its EEZ;
- enhance protection of its EEZ against illegal fishing and exploitation of its marine resources, piracy and other illegal activities;
- enhance its search and rescue capability in the region for the benefit of air and shipping traffic; and
- strengthen its presence over its outer islands situated in its EEZ.
The Government of Seychelles was particularly interested in the distant and isolated area south west of Mahé.
We are happy that you agreed as a friend of Seychelles; and to develop the Facilities at Assomption at no cost to the Government of Seychelles.
On behalf of the Government of Seychelles, I would like to thank you and through you the Government of India for accepting our request to relook at the original agreement with a view to improving it as the Government of Seychelles felt that there was a need for more clarity in the legal provisions in order to ensure the proper and successful implementation, execution and use of the Facilities, as the constitutional requirement of parliamentary ratification had to be adhered to.
India and Seychelles share the same oceanic space and believe in the Indian Ocean Zone of Peace and in international peace and security. We are both committed to investing and cooperating, each according to our means, in the preservation of peace and security and ensuring that the oceans remain safe for peaceful, sustainable and mutually beneficial purposes; for safe maritime and air traffic; for our common prosperity and that of the peoples of the region and the world; today and tomorrow.
This investment is based on a historical relationship of trust, friendship and confidence between two very friendly neighbours.
We both believe that if 2015 marked the occasion for the signing of many agreements between our two countries, 2018 will be remembered for the year of implementation of these agreements and an acceleration and deepening of the scope of our bilateral cooperation programme.
In March our two leaders will be meeting at the Delhi Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance. In April, we shall meet in Victoria for the India-Seychelles Joint Commission Session on Bilateral Cooperation. Later in the year, President Danny Faure will proceed to India on a State Visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi. All these activities are planned to mark another boost in our excellent friendship and cooperation.
Seychelles remains committed to take its partnership with India to greater heights and we hope that we can continue to count on India’s support in realizing our key development aspirations for the benefit of the people of Seychelles.
I take the occasion to thank you and your team as well as the team from Seychelles for the commitment to ensuring that the review is conducted in a spirit of dialogue, understanding and good faith. The leaders of our countries also need to be thanked for their vision and for the trust and good faith that they have in our mutual collaboration.
On a personal note, I wish to thank you for your dedication, patience and determination to ensure that this process comes to fruition during your tenure as Foreign Secretary which, as we understand, draws to a successful end tomorrow. Notably, the fact that you took pains to fly out of India on Republic Day when numerous leaders from ASEAN are on visit to India. We also thank your Joint Secretary for the Indian Ocean, and former High Commissioner in Victoria, Sanjay Panda, for the sterling facilitator role he has played in the entire process.
Your Excellency Vice President & Foreign Minister Mr. Vincent Meriton
Your Excellency Amb. Barry Faure, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Relations with countries in the Indian Ocean Region and nurturing a climate of peace and stability are important cornerstones of India’s foreign policy. Our vision for the region is based on cooperation and collective action to tackle maritime security challenges.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his landmark visit to the region in March 2015 clearly articulated our Indian Ocean doctrine. In his words, and I quote, “Our goal is to seek a climate of trust and transparency; respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries; sensitivity to each other’s interests; peaceful resolution of maritime issues; and increase in maritime cooperation. We seek a future for Indian Ocean that lives up to the name of ‘SAGAR’ – Security And Growth for All in the Region” (Unquote). SAGAR in Hindi means the Ocean. This SAGAR doctrine succinctly outlines our vision for the region with collaboration as its backbone.
It is in pursuance of this approach that India and Seychelles have over the years built an elaborate architecture of defence and security cooperation. As two maritime neighbours, we have a stake in each other’s security and safety. Seychelles with its Exclusive Economic Zone spread over 1.3 million square kilometers is particularly vulnerable. Recognising this, India and Seychelles have drawn up a cooperation agenda that covers within its purview joint efforts in anti-piracy operations, and enhanced EEZ surveillance and monitoring to prevent intrusions by potential economic offenders indulging in illegal fishing, poaching, drug and human trafficking. The cooperation is further exemplified by the operationalisation of the Coastal Surveillance Radar System in March 2016, and our commitment to augment Seychelles’ defence assets and capability. We are proud of the role played by Patrol Ships Topaz, Constant and Hermes and the Dornier Aircraft in securing the resource rich waters of Seychelles. In recognition of our strategic convergence in the Indian Ocean region, the Agreement that we sign today is an incremental step forward in further deepening our cooperation in the spirit of our unique bilateral ties.
Indeed, we are proud of our close bond of friendship with the Republic of Seychelles that has stood the test of time. We embarked on the journey together when Seychelles was born as a sovereign nation four decades ago. On 29th June 1976 when Seychelles celebrated its independence, India was there with a large contingent onboard a naval ship to partake in your celebrations and heartily welcome Seychelles into the comity of sovereign nations. Our traditional linkages have now culminated into a mutually beneficial relationship based on shared values and commitment to the ideals of democracy and development. India is committed to further expanding its development partnership with Seychelles. We will be happy to collaborate with the Government of Seychelles in implementing your priority projects through a mix of grants and Lines of Credit.
We in India greatly value our bilateral engagement with Seychelles. We have withstood several global challenges together, ranging from the threat of climate change to the piracy menace. Notwithstanding the turbulent waters, our partnership has had a smooth sailing. This reinforces our commitment to not only further deepen India-Seychelles relations but also take our partnership to the next level.
Editors Notes: To access the Salient Agreement on the establishment of facilities on Assomption please follow the link below