President James Michel of Seychelles has met with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh of India in New Delhi, to discuss ways in which to strengthen bilateral cooperation, as well as improve regional security.
The President is on a working visit to India, accompanied by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Paul Adam; Ambassador Waven William; and the Vice- Chancellor of the University of Seychelles, Dr. Rolph Payet.
“Seychelles and India have a privileged partnership in many areas of cooperation, in particular in the defense sector. India is a sincere friend and has contributed greatly to Seychelles’ security. I reiterate my commitment to develop even stronger relations in areas of our mutual interest,” said President Michel during the meeting.
President Michel thanked the Indian government for the assistance Seychelles is receiving for the security of its maritime territory, as well as combating piracy in the Indian Ocean, including the assistance of Indian surveillance planes, navy patrols, the training for the Seychelles special forces “Tazar” unit, as well as the expected donation of an Indian Dornier surveillance plane later this year.
Prime Minister Singh said that India would remain strongly committed to ensuring Seychelles’ security and will continue to make efforts to curb piracy in the Indian Ocean, as this is a strong priority for the two countries.
The Prime Minister also noted that he had received President Michel’s letter, an appeal to world leaders, concerning the need to address the crisis in Somalia, and that the President had addressed some important issues for future consideration. Prime Minister Singh said that the need for capacity building for coastal states in the region to fight against piracy is recognized, and that bilateral cooperation on piracy between the two countries would be strengthened.
The two leaders also discussed the situation in Somalia and the need for an UN-backed solution to the crisis.
“The international community needs to take responsibility for Somalia and bring an end to the decades of disorder in the country. Seychelles and India can work together in gathering support for the solution to the Somali crisis, as two countries that have had many of our nationals taken hostage by pirates, as well as our maritime trade affected by piracy,” said President Michel.
The President and the Prime Minister also discussed possible projects in the fields of water harvesting, solar energy, health education, and transportation that can be implemented under the India-Africa program.
During his visit to India, President Michel is also addressing the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) 2012. The DSDS 2012 will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Other dignitaries who will be addressing the summit will be the President of Finland, Ms. Tarja Halonen; President of Kiribati, Mr. Anote Tong; the former President of Guyana, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo; the former Prime Minister of Norway and member of the UN Secretary General’s Global Sustainability Panel for Norway, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland; and the founding Chair R20 - Regions of Climate Change and former Governor of California, USA, Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger.