The Seychelles President has warmly welcomed the arrival of HE Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the President of the Republic of India, who arrived in Seychelles on Sunday afternoon to begin a two-day state visit.
President Patil was greeted by President James Alix Michel and the Seychelles Cabinet of Ministers, as well as the Speaker, the Chief Justice, and other high-level members of the greeting party, at the Seychelles International Airport during a special arrival ceremony held in honor of her arrival.
“Our two countries have stood together and supported each other for the past 36 years. India has proved a sincere and generous friend of Seychelles and has helped us tremendously in our socio-economic development. The visit of President Patil is a testimony to the dynamism of our excellent relations, and an opportunity to enter a new phase of bilateral cooperation in the areas of commerce and investment promotion, youth and sport, police and defense affairs, as well as environmental conservation and climate change mitigation,” said President Michel.
President Patil’s visit to Seychelles is the third state visit from India following Prime Minister Indira Ghandi in 1981 and President Venkataraman in 1989.
“This is a wonderful occasion for Seychelles-India relations,” said the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, “It is clear evidence of the true partnership of our two nations, especially as this visit is already the third undertaken by such a high-level representative, which demonstrates the great value our countries place on our friendship.”
President James Michel has been a frequent visitor to India, as he greatly appreciates the “rich tapestry” of Indian culture, history, and language. Mr. Michel’s most recent official visit was in February 2012, when he attended the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit. President Michel also made a state visit to India in June 2010, where he met with President Prathiba Devisingh Patil and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to discuss cooperation in the fields of health, education, trade and investment, defense cooperation, and information technology.
The subject of piracy is expected to be discussed during President Patil’s visit to Seychelles, as Seychelles has been seeking international support for strengthening the capacity of coastal states to better defend the maritime zones, allowing for improved patroling and surveillance capabilities, as well as the improvement of intelligence-sharing networks that will allow for a more efficient and systematic approach in targeting criminal networks, with particular attention to the financiers of piracy.
The local “artisanal” fishery has been particularly hard hit, where between 2008-2010 there has been a drop of 46 percent in local fishing, which is coincidentally also the equivalent of the rise in the price of fish on the local market in the same period.
President Patil is accompanied by a high-level delegation, which includes the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Mr. Sachin Pilot, and members of Parliament, among others.
Accompanying the Presidential delegation is also representatives of the Indian business community who will be participating in a specially-convened business forum this evening at the Ephelia Constance Resort.
President Patil will be addressing the forum, which is bringing together Seychelles representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Seychelles Investment Board, and the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as other key people, together with their Indian counterparts.
The forum aims to promote greater interactions between the neighboring states. The two countries have been working together to boost trade relations since the establishment of a Joint Committee in 2003 charged with facilitating the implementation of existing trade agreements.