India and Seychelles enhance anti-piracy cooperation
“India and Seychelles have agreed to work together in controlling piracy in the Indian Ocean, so that we can try to make sure that this area is safer for economic development. Both countries face the same threat from piracy,” said President James Michel following a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi this week.
Prime Minister Singh said that India will increase maritime cooperation with Seychelles and has pledged a defense grant worth US$5 million to boost Seychelles capability to defend its territory against pirate incursions.
“We thank the government and the people for this defense grant as it will substantially increase our readiness to deal with pirates, and together with the aid of Indian military training and expertise, as well as the assistance of equipment, Seychelles will advance its defense capabilities in order to contribute to peace and security in the region,” said President Michel.
President Michel also stressed that the international community must turn its attention to the resolution of the Somali mainland security and political problem, as this is the "root of piracy and without a solution to the lawlessness in Somalia, the problem of piracy will be with us for many years."
President Michel thanked India for the past defense assistance it had extended to Seychelles, particularly as the Indian navy ship, which has been donated to Seychelles, the Topaz, has recently been used in highly-successful operations to repel pirates attacks, as well as rescue hostages from the hands of Somali pirates.
Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil had also reiterated, during a meeting with President Michel, India’s commitment to help Seychelles fight piracy.
“The problem of piracy ... affects us all and requires international cooperation," said President Pratibha Devisingh Patil.