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Prime Minister's media statement during his visit to Seychelles (March 11, 2015)

March 11, 2015

Thank you, President Michel, for your kind words.

I am deeply touched by your extraordinary hospitality and warmth.

I regret that this is a very short visit. I would have loved to stay longer. Anyone who visits this wonderful country will find it hard to leave.

Short it may be, but this visit has been very productive.

It is no surprise that Seychelles is my first destination in the Indian Ocean Region.

We regard Seychelles as a vital partner in our Indian Ocean neighbourhood.

Our relationship is unique and special. It is founded on deep sense of mutual trust and confidence. It is marked by a spirit of respect and equality; and enormous goodwill and warmth.

It draws strength from our shared values of democracy and inclusiveness. It is nurtured by a common purpose - progress of our people and peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region.

Seychelles has made impressive progress. It has shown that size is no barrier to the scale of achievements.

This visit and my conversation with President Michel have reinforced my conviction in the strength and the importance of this relationship.

Our security partnership is strong. It has enabled us to fulfill our shared responsibility to advance maritime security in the region.

It is a privilege to be a partner of Seychelles in the development of its security capabilities.

Today, I am pleased to announce that we will be giving one more Dornier aircraft to Seychelles.

Later today, I will have the honour to launch the Coastal Surveillance Radar Project. This is another symbol of our cooperation.

These steps will enable Seychelles to secure these beautiful islands and the vast expanse of waters around them. Seychelles will also continue to make an enormous contribution to the safety and security of the Indian Ocean Region.

Our agreement today on hydrographic survey adds a new dimension to our maritime cooperation. I thank Seychelles for their confidence in India.

We also hope that Seychelles will soon be a full partner in the maritime security cooperation between India, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

President Michel and I also underlined the importance of comprehensive cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region. We expressed support for a more active and productive Indian Ocean Rim Association.

Our development partnership is also a strong pillar of our relations.

Our agreement today on the development of infrastructure in the Assumption Island gives a strong boost to this partnership.

We are pleased to be a partner in development of human resources and capacity building in Seychelles. Indeed, Seychelles is one of the largest recipients of Indian assistance in this area. We intend to expand this further in the future.

Seychelles is a leader in advancing the concept of Blue Economy. We also believe that the Ocean Economy is indispensable to meeting our future challenges.

Today, President Michel and I have agreed to establish a Joint Working Group to expand our cooperation on the blue economy.

This cooperation will increase our understanding of marine ecology and resources. We will improve our ability to harness new possibilities of the ocean in a sustainable and balanced manner.

This is a major step in advancing our scientific and economic cooperation.

We stressed our support for expansion in our modest trade and investment relations. We are confident that we can achieve it, especially as Seychelles looks to a future in which information technology and services play an increasingly important role.

I also expressed hope that Seychelles would be able to quickly utilize the committed 75 million dollars in grants and credit in accordance with its priorities.

We deeply value the close and warm ties between our people. I welcomed the launch of direct air services to India by Air Seychelles last December.

We have decided to grant free visas for three months to the citizens of Seychelles. We will also extend to you the facility of visa-on-arrival.

I thanked President Michel for his Government's consistent support to India in international forums. This includes the endorsement for India's permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.

We had strong convergence of views on climate change. We are two nations that are vulnerable to its impact. And, we are deeply committed to combating it.

We stressed our shared commitment to strong national action. We also called for a strong and ambitious global effort, especially from the developed world, on climate change.

I reiterated our consistent support to the position of the Small Island Developing States. Equally, I renewed India's strong commitment to our partnership with Africa.

Our relationship is a powerful example of warm friendship and productive partnership. For India, this relationship means a lot.

This visit has reinforced the special warmth in our ties and taken our strategic partnership to a new level. I am grateful to President Michel and the people of Seychelles for this.

I look forward to the visit of President Michel to India at the earliest.

Thank you.

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