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Seychelles President Arrives Today for 6-day Visit, Indian Naval Base Not on Agenda

The visit comes just days after Danny Faure said a joint project with New Delhi to develop a naval base at Assumption Island in his country would not move forward.

PTI

Updated:June 22, 2018, 8:12 PM IST
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Seychelles President Arrives Today for 6-day Visit, Indian Naval Base Not on Agenda
President of the Seychelles, Danny Faure. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
New Delhi: Seychelles President Danny Faure will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and review the wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries, including in the fields of defence and security, during his six-day India visit starting Friday.

The visit comes just days after Faure said a joint project with New Delhi to develop a naval base at Assumption Island in his country would not move forward.

There has been growing political opposition in Seychelles to an agreement it signed with India in 2015 to develop a naval facility at the island which would have given New Delhi a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean Region.

During the visit from June 22-27, Faure will also visit Gujarat, Goa and Uttarakhand, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

Faure, who will first visit Gujarat and Goa, will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday. He will then visit the Rajghat to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, the MEA said.

Faure will meet President Ram Nath Kovind and hold delegation level talks with Modi during his visit.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will call on Faure during the visit.

Faure will also address the India-Seychelles Business Forum.

He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising two cabinet ministers, four secretaries of state and other senior officials. A business delegation will also be accompanying the President on the visit, the MEA said.

Faure's state visit, part of regular high-level exchanges between India and Seychelles, will accord an opportunity to review wide-ranging bilateral cooperation including in the fields of defence and security and development partnership, it said.

At a press conference on June 4, Faure had said Seychelles will develop military facilities at the island on its own and that the project with India "will not move forward".

He had also said the issue would not be discussed with the Indian leadership during his visit to New Delhi.

India was keen on developing the Assumption Island as a naval base to expand its footprint in the strategically-key region where China has been trying to enhance its military presence.

The agreement on the Assumption Island between India and Seychelles was first signed in 2015 during Modi's visit to that country. An updated version of the original deal was finalised by the two sides earlier this year.

However, opposition leaders in Seychelles came out openly against the agreement after the original document as well as the revised version of it surfaced online in March.

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| Edited by: Parth Sharma
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