Indian Ocean Current Affairs

Assumption Island: Seychelles denies joint project with India to develop naval base

Seychelles President Danny Faure ahead of his state visit to India has said that India-Seychelles joint project to develop naval base at Assumption Island in his country will not move forward. He also mentioned that Seychelles will develop military facilities at the island on its own. This statement comes after growing political opposition in Seychelles to agreement that was signed with India in 2015 to develop a naval facility at Assumption Island which would have given India strategic advantage in Indian Ocean Region (IOR).


India was keen on developing the Assumption Island as naval base due to key strategic location in the western periphery of Indian Ocean and to expand its footprint in the region where China has been trying to enhance its military presence. For this, India had signed 20 years agreement in 2015 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to that Seychelles. It was meant to India’s first Naval Base project overseas and had acquired significance after China had acquired its first African naval base in Djibouti (near Horn of Africa) in November 2014. However, after opposition leaders in Seychelles came out openly against agreement with India, Seychelles President refused to place in Seychelles National Assembly (its parliament) since he didn’t have majority. Later in January 2018, India and Seychelles finalised an updated version of the original pact to accommodate lot of concerns of Seychelles side.

Assumption Island

Assumption Island is a small island situated southwest of Seychelles main and largest island of Mahe. It is situated very close to Mozambique Channel from where much Indian Ocean maritime routes pass. Its location lends it strategic importance for monitoring shipping in the Mozambique Channel.


Naval Commanders’ Conference held New Delhi

The first edition of this year’s bi-annual Naval Commanders’ Conference was held in New Delhi from 8 to 11 May 2018. It discussed aspects concerning country’s maritime security, analyse mission-based deployments and larger issues of geo-strategic Indian Ocean Region (IOR), a region witnessing increasing Chinese presence.

Key Facts

During the conference, top echelons of Indian Navy reviewed its new Mission-Based Deployments philosophy aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the region. The new deployment philosophy is in furtherance of Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). It aims at sustained, peaceful and yet responsive presence of Indian Naval ships in critical areas and choke points.

It also examined various measures taken to improve combat efficiency, including new transition cycle for ships for transition from maintenance periods through training phase and thereon to full scale operations will be examined at conference. Indian Navy’s focus over past year has been on combat efficiency and materiel readiness, and upkeep of its large fleet of 131 ships and submarines.

It also reviewed measures to ensure safety, continued training, and checks and balances on crew proficiency on-board its frontline warships. It also undertook review of overhaul of training standards of units by revamping ‘Ship Operating Standards (SHOPS)’. The new SHOPS will be unveiled shortly and it focuses on Role-based training in realistic scenarios and sets standards to be met by units as also targets individual crew proficiency levels.

It also deliberated upon steps to improve Teeth-to-Tail ratio and explore niche fields such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics. Moreover, it also focused on harnessing cutting-edge technology, specifically those ‘Made-in-India’, to improve organisational effectiveness and efficiency.


Indian Ocean is considered the backyard of Indian Navy. It is critical to India’s strategic interests. Over the years, the region has witnessed increasing Chinese presence. China increased its presence in IOR by constructing deep-sea Gwadar Port in southern Pakistan and naval base in Djibouti in Horn of Africa. The region also has seen increase in deployment of Chinese ships for anti-piracy operations.