India to build assets in Seychelles island

India to build assets in Seychelles island

India is all set build “strategic assets” in an island of the Seychelles, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government pursuing its maritime security agenda, in response to China’s growing footprints in Indian Ocean.

Modi on Wednesday hosted Seychelles President James Alix Michel, who conveyed the island nation’s desire to join the maritime security cooperation framework, which India, Sri Lanka and Maldives agreed upon in 2013. After the meeting between the two leaders in New Delhi, India and the Seychelles inked six agreements, including one for air connectivity between the two nations and another for exchange of information to curb money laundering and tax evasion.

“We look forward to cooperating in Space, including in the areas of managing land and marine resources, fisheries advisory, weather forecasting and disaster management,” the prime minister told journalists after a meeting with the Seychelles president in New Delhi.

“We have begun preparations for infrastructure development on the Assumption Island in Seychelles,” added Modi, who visited the Indian Ocean archipelago earlier this year.

Seychelles comprises 115 islands on Indian Ocean and the Assumption Island is one of them. Modi’s visit in March saw him and Michel signing an agreement, which not only allowed New Delhi to build infrastructure in the Assumption Island and thus effectively leasing it out to India.

Neither India nor Seychelles ever officially made public how the 11.71 sq km island would be put to use. Sources in New Delhi, however, said India would turn the strategically located island as a surveillance post.

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