India and Seychelles agreed to work together on a project to develop a naval base at the Assumption Island keeping each other’s concerns in mind after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Danny Faure.
The issue was taken up in the bilateral talks between the two leaders on Monday where they also reviewed wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries in the fields of defence and security.
India also announced a USD 100-million credit to Seychelles for augmenting its defence capabilities.
“With this credit, Seychelles will be able to buy defence equipment to boost its maritime capacity,” Prime Minister Modi said in his joint media statement with Faure.
On the project to develop a naval facility at the island, which would give India a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean Region, Modi said, “We have agreed to work together on the Assumption Island project based on each other’s rights.”
Faure, in his remarks, said the Assumption Island project was discussed and the two countries equally engaged to work together bearing each other’s interests.
The visit by Seychelles’ president comes just days after the joint project between the two nations to develop an Indian naval base at Assumption Island had hit a roadblock. There has been growing political opposition in Seychelles to an agreement.
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.
(With inputs from PTI)