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Seychelles President to hold talks with PM Modi; defence, security ties high on agenda

Seychelles President

New Delhi | Seychelles President Danny Faure, who is on his first bilateral visit to India, will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and review the wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries, including in the fields of defence and security.

Faure, who arrived in Delhi on Sunday after visiting Ahmedabad and Goa, was received by Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar.

“Connected by ‘SAGAR’ Security and Growth for All in the Region ! President of Seychelles Danny Antoine Rollen Faure warmly received by MoS @mjakbar at Delhi airport on his first bilateral visit to India,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

Faure landed in Gujarat Friday as part of his six-day India tour. He visited the Sabarmati Ashram on Saturday, where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1917 and 1930.

Faure also visited the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIMA), where he held a meeting with the institute’s director, Errol D’Souza.¬†The visit comes just days after Faure said a joint project with New Delhi to develop a naval base at Assumption Island in his country would not move forward.

There has been growing political opposition in Seychelles to an agreement it signed with India in 2015 to develop a naval facility at the island which would have given New Delhi a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean Region. During the visit, Faure will also visit Uttarakhand.

Faure’s state visit, part of regular high-level exchanges between India and Seychelles, will accord an opportunity to review wide-ranging bilateral cooperation including in the fields of defence and security and development partnership, the MEA had earlier said.

At a press conference on June 4, Faure had said Seychelles will develop military facilities at the island on its own and that the project with India “will not move forward”.

He had also said the issue would not be discussed with the Indian leadership during his visit to New Delhi.

India was keen on developing the Assumption Island as a naval base to expand its footprint in the strategically-key region where China has been trying to enhance its military presence.

The agreement on the Assumption Island between India and Seychelles was first signed in 2015 during Modi’s visit to that country. An updated version of the original deal was finalised by the two sides earlier this year.

However, opposition leaders in Seychelles came out openly against the agreement after the original document as well as the revised version of it surfaced online in March.

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