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Media Statement by Prime Minister and President of Seychelles during the visit of President of Seychelles to India (August 26, 2015) ​

August 26, 2015

His Excellency, President Michel,
Members of the Media,

It is always a great pleasure to welcome home a special friend, which President Michel certainly is.

I am also delighted to reciprocate President Michel’s exceptional hospitality in March this year.

He has led his country with great vision. He is a strong global voice of concern on climate change, especially for small island countries.

Excellency, just as we appreciate your country’s beauty, we admire your nation’s progress.

Let me repeat what I said in Seychelles: Your country shows that size is no barrier to the scale of achievements.

President Michel has also been instrumental for the progress in our relationship. We value this greatly because Seychelles is a key strategic partner for India.

Just as the range of our interests are broad, so are the foundations of our relationship deep –our shared values, ties of kinship, unmatched mutual respect and trust, and a partnership of equality.

I am pleased that we are making good progress on the decisions from my very productive visit in March. President Michel’s visit has imparted additional momentum to our relations.

We have excellent security cooperation, especially for maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.

We are honoured to be a partner in providing aircraft, naval vessels and coastal radar systems for strengthening surveillance capacities. Our cooperation in hydrography surveys is extensive and growing.

I have conveyed that India will gift one more Interceptor Coastguard boat to Seychelles.

In March, I had announced that we would gift a second Dornier aircraft to Seychelles. I am pleased that we have completed the process quickly and signed the agreement today.

President and I place strong emphasis on Ocean or Blue Economy. I believe, as he does, that we should look at small island countries as large ocean states with vast potential.

We are pleased that sustainable use of oceans and marine resources is a distinct element in the Sustainable Development Goals in the United Nations that were finalised recently.

Our bilateral agreement for cooperation on blue economy is a huge step forward in our relationship and in promoting sustainable ocean economy in the region.

We look forward to cooperating in Space, including in the areas of managing land and marine resources, fisheries advisory, weather forecasting and disaster management.

We have begun preparations for infrastructure development on the Assumption Island in Seychelles.

We had spoken in March about improving connectivity. The Air Services Agreement today will enable more and easier connections between the two countries.

Climate change is a major global challenge. It is serious threat to island countries like Seychelles. With a shoreline of 7500 kilometres and nearly 1300 islands, India has similar concerns.

We both have ambitious national plans for a more sustainable future. We also work together for a comprehensive, balanced and effective outcome on climate change at COP 21 in Paris later this year.

I shared our desire to press for reforms of the United Nations, including its Security Council, in this 70th anniversary year.

We greatly appreciate Seychelles’ support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded United Nations Security Council.

I also conveyed our desire to work with Small Island Developing States to realise their vision of Samoa Pathway and to be a source of strength for each other in international forums.

I thank President Michel for his support for the Third India-Africa Forum Summit to be held in October.

Let me also express our gratitude to Seychelles for their active support in making the International Day of Yoga a big success.

Excellency, We are two nations of vastly different sizes. But, this relationship is an outstanding model of international partnership. This special and unique relationship will always be at the centre of our interests.

I am confident that this milestone year for our relationship will be the springboard for taking our strategic partnership to a new level.

Thank you.

President of Seychelles (H.E. James Alix Michel): Excellency Prime Minister Modi, Prime Minister of India, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

First of all, may I express my immense joy in being in India once again. It is always with great enthusiasm that I return to your country to feel the heartbeat of the world’s largest democracy and the modern economic dynamism of a nation which is an inspiration to all. I am deeply touched by the warmth of your welcome and hospitality.

My visit comes barely five months after the memorable visit and also a fruitful visit of you, Mr. Prime Minister, to Seychelles in March of this year. It illustrates the unique and special relationship that our two countries share based on our shared values and aspirations. It is a relationship which is strategic, historical, multifaceted and longstanding.

The vibrant Indian community in Seychelles, which is part and parcel of the long history of our country and which shapes our common destiny, is a catalyst in bolstering the strategic partnership and our convergent bilateral interests.

Our common goals in the Indian Ocean and the importance we attach to the strengthening of our only pan-Indian Ocean organization, the Indian Ocean Rim Association, have also been of critical importance in imparting both substance and momentum to our relationship. This visit and my extremely fruitful and constructive discussions with you, Mr. Prime Minister, have reinforced my conviction in the strength and importance of this partnership.

More agreements that have been signed today in finance, agriculture, maritime security, the blue economy, and air connectivity have paved the way for the enhancement of our bilateral relations.

I have reiterated to you, Mr. Prime Minister, Seychelles’ appreciation for the financial support of India which makes a significant contribution to the socioeconomic development of my country.

I have expressed my gratitude for India’s commitment to further expand its partnership in the development of human resources and capacity building. This will help us to reinforce our resilience as a nation and to meet our vision of people-centred development.

I have also expressed my gratitude for the donation of another Dornier aircraft. It will significantly reinforce our security capabilities in terms of surveillance of our ocean space and of the Indian Ocean region as a whole.

Seychelles has expressed its willingness to be a partner in the maritime security cooperation between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. We are pleased to have India as a partner in the development of our blue economy. Our cooperation in this field gives us the chance to build economic opportunities while also sustaining future generations.

Prime Minister Modi and I have underscored the need for a more comprehensive and significant economic partnership in terms of trade, investment and related activities. We want it to be a partnership which drives economic growth, wealth and prosperity for our two nations. It is in this spirit that we will be meeting the business and trade community of India this afternoon, to deliberate with them and to identify opportunities for trade, business and investment.

We have welcomed enhanced air connectivity between our two countries which will boost business, tourism, trade, cultural activities as well as people-to-people exchanges and the development of human relationship. Global challenges have also created synergies between our two countries and shaped our relationship.

Prime Minister Modi and myself have expressed our conviction of the need to adapt the United Nations Security Council to the realities and requirements of the new century.

I have reiterated my appreciation for India’s support to the position of Small Island Developing States and to Africa in regard to this reform. This support is more crucial as we seek to define the post-2015 development agenda, and as we seek to finalise an agreement on climate change. Seychelles and India have strong, convergent views on climate change and have called for an ambitious agreement at the Paris Conference.

This visit has reinforced our relationship and strategic partnership to a new level. Prime Minister Modi and I have expressed our commitment to continue working closely together in order to continue building a vibrant and dynamic future for Seychelles and India.

I look forward to another visit of Prime Minister Modi to Seychelles, and to a longer one this time.

I thank you.



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