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Maritime security: Seychelles keen to join group

James_Michel_2014

Seychelles President

Amid increasing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles on Thursday asserted that the region “belongs” to countries sharing maritime boundaries and said it was “actively” considering participating in a security framework for the strategic area involving India, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

In an important announcement, Seychelles foreign minister Morgan Joel Morgan said, “With regards to safeguarding maritime domain, Seychelles is actively considering invitation by the Indian government to join the tripartite maritime security framework which encompasses India, Sri Lanka and Maldives.”

Meanwhile, underlining close bonds of friendship with Seychelles, which has stood the test of time, President Pranab Mukherjee has said that operationalisation of the Coastal Surveillance and Radar System will further contribute to securing the island nation’s maritime territory. Mr Mukherjee was speaking at the banquet hosted in honour of visiting Seychelles President James Alix Michel. On Thursday, delivering a lecture in the capital, Mr Michel, who had held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier on key issues including security, hailed India’s role in curbing piracy and noted that the two countries have a “shared interest” in maritime security.

While Michel delivered a brief lecture, his ministers for Foreign Affairs Joel Morgan, and Finance, Trade and Blue Economy Jean-Paul Adam interacted with a select audience on a wide range of issues.

“We cannot leave it to others to secure our maritime space. The need is more relevant than ever. Today we have with India an exemplary partnership in defence and security sectors. India’s determined and proactive action in fight against piracy is highly commendable,” Michel was quoted by news agency reports, as saying.

Responding to a query on China, Seychelles Foreign Minister Morgan said Seychelles is “close friends” with both the countries and respect them in terms of their international policies.

Meanwhile, President Mukherjee said both countries have joined hands to face common challenges, addressed regional and global issues, overcome adversities and celebrated our successes. “Our protocol on co-operation in the field of Blue Economy is a major step in the conservation and sustainable use of Indian Ocean resources. We are glad that our maritime security co-operation has been fruitful. The operationalisation of the Coastal Surveillance and Radar System will further contribute to securing your maritime territory,” he said.

The Asian Age

James Michel

 

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