India, Seychelles ink four agreements during Modi visit

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Victoria: India and the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles strengthened their ties as Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here for a brief visit, the first by an Indian prime minister in 34 years that saw the inking of four pacts, including one on boosting maritime security.

Modi, who arrived Tuesday night, was warmly greeted at the airport by Seychelles President James Michel, Vice President Danny Faure and members of the Indian community.

Addressing the media after holding talks with President Michel, the Indian prime minister said their bilateral ties is “nurtured by a common purpose – progress of our people and peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region”.

“Our security partnership is strong. It has enabled us to fulfill our shared responsibility to advance maritime security in the region,” said Modi as he announced another Dornier aircraft for Seychelles and also a Coastal Surveillance Radar Project as a symbol of bilateral cooperation.

Modi said the steps will help Seychelles secure its islands and the vast expanse of waters around them.

Earlier, Michel said Modi’s visit was a “symbol of the excellent ties between our two peoples” and that India is a close friend of the Seychelles.

The two sides inked four agreements, including on cooperation in hydrography, renewable energy, infrastructure development and sale of navigation charts and electronic navigational charts.

Modi also thanked Seychelles for supporting India in international fora, including endorsing India’s permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council.

Modi also said both sides have strong convergence of views on climate change and are committed to combating this.

Modi later left for Mauritius, the next stop on his three-nation diplomatic tour of Indian Ocean states. He will also visit Sri Lanka.

Indira Gandhi was the last prime minister to visit Seychelles in 1981.

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