The Indian government says it will donate one more Dornier Do-228 maritime surveillance aircraft and an interceptor boat to the Seychelles Coast Guard as the two countries move to strengthen maritime security co-operation.
According to Indian newspaper the Deccan Herald, the military equipment will be donated in terms of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Prime Narendra Modi and Seychelles President James Michel during his state visit to India on Wednesday. No time frame was given for deliveries.
Once delivered, the interceptor boat will be the seventh navy ship to be donated to the Seychelles Coast Guard, which already operates two Indian-made boats within its fleet of six vessels.
In a statement announcing the donation on Wednesday, Modi said his country will continue to provide the Seychelles with maritime security equipment to protect its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) because it is a key strategic economic and security partner in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
“We are honoured to be partnering with the Seychelles in providing aircraft, naval vessels and coastal radar systems for strengthening surveillance capacities. Our cooperation in hydrographic surveys is extensive and growing. In March, I had announced that we would gift a second Dornier aircraft to Seychelles. I am pleased that we have completed the process quickly and signed the agreement today,” Modi said.
The MoU on security is one of the five agreements signed by the two during Michel’s visit. Other agreements cover co-operation in the management of land and marine resources, the provision of Indian advisory services on agriculture, education and fisheries, meteorological services and disaster management.
The two countries also signed an air services agreement to improve air transport links and another providing for the exchange of information on tax evasion amid concerns that the island remains a preferred offshore haven for routing funds from tax evaders.
President Michel hailed the agreements saying the two countries share similar security and economic development concerns as members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
“Seychelles has expressed its willingness to be a partner in the maritime security cooperation between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. We have so much in common, we have the same shared values, and we have the same cultural affinities. India and Seychelles can work together to achieve greater security for our region,” Michel said.
The Seychelles Coast Guard continues to receive training and equipment from the Indian Navy, partly as a result of India’s effort to check Chinese naval expansion in the IOR and historic diplomatic relations between the two countries.
As part of its push against Chinese dominance over the IOR, the India has also donated military equipment, training and advisory services to strengthen its diplomatic and security relations with the island nations of Sri Lanka, Mauritius and the Maldives.