India-Seychelles Current Affairs
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India and Seychelles have signed six Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) including in area of infrastructure development in Seychelles, cyber security and white-shipping arrangement. The agreements were signed between both countries after bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Seychelles President Danny Faure in New Delhi.
India has announced US $100-million credit to Seychelles for augmenting its defence capabilities. It also announced to hand over second Dornier aircraft to Seychelles as promised by PM Modi during his visit there in 2015. The aircraft will reach Seychelles before its National Day on June 29, 2018.
Signed agreements are
- MoU regarding Indian Grant Assistance for implementation of small development projects through local bodies, educational and vocational institutions.
- Twinning Agreement on Establishment of Friendship and Cooperation between Panaji (Municipal Corporation), Goa (India) and Victoria City of Seychelles
- MoU in the area of Cyber Security: It was signed between Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) and Seychelles’ Department of Information Communications Technology.
- Cultural Exchange Programme between India and Seychelles for the years 2018-2022
- Technical Agreement on Sharing White Shipping Information between Indian Navy and National Information Sharing and Coordination Center of Seychelles: It will enable the two countries to exchange data regarding identity and movement of non-military commercial vessels
- MoU between Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of Ministry of External Affairs of India and Department of Foreign Affairs of Seychelles.
Key Takeaways from talks bilateral talks
Assumption Island: Both India and Seychelles have agreed to work together on project to develop naval base at Assumption Island keeping each other’s concerns in mind. Both countries are key strategic partners for each other and they respect the core values of democracy. They share geo-strategic vision of maintaining peace, security and stability in Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Defence and security cooperation: Both countries share robust defence and security cooperation. The US $100-million credit from India to enable Seychelles to buy defence equipment to boost its maritime capacity. Both countries have strategic convergence in dealing with maritime challenges. Both countries are straddled between one of important Sea Lanes of Communication and vulnerable to piracy. They face dangers of international crimes such as piracy, drugs, human trafficking and illegal exploitation of oceanic resources. India is committed to augment Seychelles defence capabilities, maritime infrastructure and increase capabilities of its defence personnel.
Seychelles has gifted pair of Giant Aldabra tortoise to India as a goodwill gesture. They were brought to India as gift from the President of Seychelles Danny Faure during his five-day visit to India. The pair was handed over to Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad after Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in New Delhi gave permission to house them.
The tortoises are both aged about 20 years and weighs around 120 and 150kg. They have been kept under quarantine at Nehru Zoological Park and will continue to be under observation for 30 days, after which they will be released into enclosure for public view, where presently Galapagos tortoise is also housed.
Gifting or giving Aldabra tortoise on loan to friendly countries is a part of the Seychellois diplomacy. Earlier, in 2010, Seychelles had loaned two giant tortoise to Shanghai Zoo in China, while another pair was presented to Guangzhou Zoo in 2014.
Aldabra Giant Tortoise
Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea) is endemic to Aldabra Atoll in Seychelles. It is said to be one of the largest species of tortoises on planet and also one of the world’s longest living animals (can live above 200 years). kg Aldabra Atoll has been protected from human influence and is home to around 100,000 giant tortoises, the world’s largest population of the animal. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified this species of tortoises as Vulnerable in its Red List of Threatened Species.