VIRTUAL MEET B/W LEADERS OF INDIA & SEYCHELLES
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan jointly inaugurated a range of Indian projects in Seychelles during a high-level virtual meeting. The projects include the inauguration of a new Magistrates’ Court Building, one MW solar power plant, 10 High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) and handing over of a new Fast Patrol Vessel to Seychelles Coast Guard. These projects are a part of India's Indo-Pacific vision. This was the first interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan after the latter came to power following a landmark victory in October 2020 elections.
Assistance in Time of need: He said that India is honoured to have played the role of a strong partner of Seychelles in this fight against COVID-19. He highlighted how India was able to supply essential medicines and 50,000 doses of vaccine during the time of need and assured that India will stand firmly with Seychelles in its effort for post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
Son of India: The Prime Minister also called the Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan "son of India" due to his Bihar roots and said that all Indians feel proud of his achievements. He said that his election as president shows people of Seychelles have a dedication to public service.
On Climate Change : The Prime Minister highlighted that climate change especially poses a threat to island countries and therefore, India is handing over a one MegaWatt solar power plant in Seychelles that was built with India's assistance. He further said that India will remain committed to strengthening the maritime security of the Seychelles and for the same, India is handing over a new, state of the art, Made-in-India Fast Patrol Vessel to the Seychelles Coast Guard.
EVENTS AT THE MEET OF BOTH THE LEADERS
Joint Inauguration: Inaugurated the new magistrates’ court building in Mahé constructed with a USD 3.5-million, a 1 MW solar power plant built at a cost of USD3.4 million, and 10 community development projects in Seychelles. All the projects were built by the help of India. India has so far taken up 29 small people-oriented development projects in Seychelles, while the 1MW solar project was built in addition to installing solar systems at 146 government buildings and domestic households. The solar plant will meet the electricity needs of around 400 houses round the year.
Fast Patrol Vehicle: India handed over a fast patrol vessel (PS Zoroaster) to the island nation. The 48.9-metre patrol boat was built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineering (under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence) at a cost of Rs. 100 crore and has a top speed of 35 knots and an endurance of 1,500 nautical miles. The vessel will be used for multi-purpose operations, such as patrolling, anti-smuggling and anti-poaching operations, and search and rescue. India gifted similar vessels to the Seychelles in 2005, 2014 and 2016.
India’s Stand: India is honoured to be a partner of Seychelles in the development of its security capabilities and in meeting its infrastructural and developmental needs.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDIA & SEYCHELLES
Diplomatic ties were established with Seychelles after its independence in 1976. When Seychelles attained freedom, a contingent from the Indian Naval Ship, INS Nilgiri, took part in the Independence Day celebrations. Since then the tradition of Indian military participation at the Seychelles National Day celebrations has continued till date. An Indian Mission was established in 1979 in Victoria, Seychelles with the High Commissioner based in Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) and concurrently accredited to Seychelles. The first resident High Commissioner was appointed in 1987, while Seychelles opened its resident mission in New Delhi in early 2008.
Economic Relation: India exported goods worth USD 84.49 million and imported goods worth USD 5.27 million from Seychelles during the financial year 2018-19. Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) between India and Seychelles was signed in August 2015. Seychelles is also keen to sign the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
Energy & Environment: Blue Economy Protocol between India and Seychelles was signed in August 2015. Recently, India has been accepted as an observer of the Indian Ocean Commission, of which Seychelles is a member. With the ratification of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework Agreement in September 2017, Seychelles has officially become one of the Founding Members of ISA. ISA is an Indian Initiative.
SECURITY & GROWTH FOR ALL IN THE REGION (SAGAR)
Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) was launched in 2015. It is India’s strategic vision for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities. Further, India seeks to safeguard its national interests and ensure Indian Ocean region to become inclusive, collaborative and respect international law. The key relevance of SAGAR emerges when seen in conjunction with India’s other policies impacting the maritime domain like Act East Policy, Project Sagarmala, Project Mausam, India as ‘net security provider’, focus on Blue Economy etc.
Seychelles has been a strategic destination for several major powers with vested interests in the region, however India’s image and visibility in Seychelles is very high as compared to others. The geo-strategic importance of Seychelles’s location remains undiminished in contemporary times, and will become enhanced and China is fighting to get an upper hand which India must not allow. There is also a need to strengthen shared efforts of both the countries to combat drug trafficking, IUU (Illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing, piracy and climate change while protecting the ocean ecosystem.
Q.1 Which of the following is the President of Seychelles, who was addressed as 'Son of India' by Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
- President Pravind Jugnauth
- President Wavel Ramkalawan
- Sir James Kanchan
- None of the above: ANSWER
Q.2 Which of the following is not amongst the project inaugurated between India & Seychelles during the virtual meet of both the nation's leaders?
- Inauguration of a new Magistrates’ Court Building
- Inauguration of the friendship bridge between India & Seychelles: ANSWER
- 1 MW solar power plant built at a cost of USD3.4 million
- All of the above
Q.3 Due to which of the following reasons Indian PM have addressed the President of Seychelles as the 'Son of India'?
- Due to his roots in the states of India: ANSWER
- Due to Seychelles's support in the Indo-pacific region
- Seychelles support to India in Act East policy
- None of the following
Q.4 Consider the following statements and state which of these are incorrect in the reference to the above mentioned passage?
- India handed over a fast patrol vessel (PS Zoroaster) to the island nation which was built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineering.
- Seychelles is central to India’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
- Recently, India has been accepted as an observer of the Indian Ocean Commission, of which Seychelles is a member.
- None of the above: ANSWER
Q.5 Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) which is India’s strategic vision for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) was launched in which of the following years?
- 2015: ANSWER