Seychelles President James Michel has met with the Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna for talks on bilateral cooperation on issues of security and economic development, during Minister Krishna’s one-day working visit to Seychelles.
“We have had the opportunity to discuss our shared security interests in the Indian Ocean, particularly the joint military efforts and cooperation in the fight against piracy. India has provided invaluable support in this domain, and we will work together in every way possible to continue to build a sound program of collaboration,” said President Michel.
Minister S.M. Krishna assured President Michel of India’s full support to Seychelles in the anti-piracy effort and indicated that further steps would be taken to enhance the ongoing partnership.
“Defense is the area where our concerns are identical. The Defense Minister of India is visiting Seychelles on the 18th of this month. These high-level visits will convey the priority that India has been providing to Seychelles,“ said Minister S.M Krishna.
The President said that the highly-successful state visit to India in June had renewed the interest of Seychellois people for traveling and doing business with India and that the visit of the Indian External Affairs Minister was an indication of the active partnership of the two countries.
“We have developed several areas of cooperation during my visit to India last month, and the visit of Minister Krishna provides the opportune moment to follow up on many of the key elements that were agreed [upon]. We are very grateful for the assistance that India is providing for the development of our country’s security and economic stability.”
During President Michel’s visit to New Delhi in June, India pledged US$5 million worth of defense aid to Seychelles for the anti-piracy effort, following talks between the President with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
India also announced that it would write off 45 percent of Seychelles debt owed to the government of India and reschedule the remainder over a 20-year period with the interest rates halved, as part of the “Paris Club formula” approach.
The government of India will also be writing off US$1.375 million in debt, which Seychelles owes on a commercial loan with the Exim Bank (Export Import) of India. India has also pledged to the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS) a US$10 million line of credit at concessionary terms, which had been under discussion during the 7th Indo-Seychelles Commission that took place in Seychelles in May this year. During the visit, Seychelles and India signed a Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPPA).