Narendra Modi has become the first Indian prime minister to visit Seychelles in 33 years. The PM is on a trip to three Indian Ocean island nations and Mauritius is second on the list of his diplomatic tour which will conclude in Sri Lanka.
Modi, accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, reached Seychelles late on Tuesday night. Modi has aimed at strengthening relations with the three nations as the island countries are "vital" for India's security and progress, reports PTI.
Ministry of External Affairs said that both India and Seychelles will focus on "maritime security, better co-operation in anti-piracy measures & engaged (sic) in working on renewable energy," according to an ANI tweet.
PM today will unveil yet another aspect on maritime security co-operation between India and Seychelles: MEA
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 11, 2015
"He will unveil a radar system to enable Seychelles to have greater understanding of its environment: MEA," ANI tweeted, adding, "A system which enables Seychelles to access moves of unsavory elements in the region: MEA".
Before taking off for his tour, Modi had said that India "attaches paramount importance to strengthening relations with this region, which is vital for India's security and progress"...and the tour "reflects our foreign policy priorities in India's immediate and extended neighbourhood".
"India's relationship with Seychelles has been built on the foundation of mutual trust and shared values... I am keenly looking forward to my meeting with President James Michel, a great friend of India," Modi added.
After meeting with the Seychelles President, Modi will head to Mauritius where he will be staying over on 11 and 12 March after which he will head to Sri Lanka for a two-day (13-14 March) visit. Modi will be the first Prime Minister in 28 years to visit Lanka.
During his visit to the island nation, Modi is likely to raise the issue of restarting the decade old ferry service between Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka which was shut down following the ethnic conflict in the country, reports The Economic Times.
Apart from this, PM Modi will be offering military and civilian aid to all the three island nations to help them counter China, which has gradually settled its base in the Indian Ocean. "India has a role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region. We are providing patrol ships, surveillance radars and ocean mapping for the island states," a defence officer had said earlier.