India to assist Seychelles in anti-piracy operations

In an effort to increase its presence in the Indian Ocean, India has agreed to and provide aircraft to Seychelles and bolster its security forces.

Responding to the request during an interaction with the leadership of Seychelles, Defence Minister A.K. Antony agreed to extend help to carry out maritime and Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance operations.

Mr. Antony, who is on a two-day visit to Mahe, met President James Alix Michel, Vice-President Danny Faure, Minister for Home Affairs Joel Morgan, and Foreign Minister Jean Paul Adam, Defence Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said here.

Underscoring the problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden that affects all countries of the world, Mr. Antony shared the concerns of Seychelles on the increasing reach of pirates.

“This is a problem which calls for cooperation among all countries. The Indian Ocean links us all and is critical for our economic interests. We must cooperate to ensure peace and stability in this region,” he said.

Assurance

Mr. Antony reiterated New Delhi’s assurance — as conveyed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during President Michel’s visit to India earlier — of continued cooperation in all fields, especially defence and security. Dr. Singh had announced a $5 million assistance for defence-related projects for Seychelles.

Besides this, on a specific request from Seychelles, Mr. Antony agreed to provide, at the earliest, a new Dornier aircraft and two Chetak helicopters from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for maritime surveillance.

Although the normal delivery time is 18-24 months, he said New Delhi would make an effort to deliver it in 15 months.

India will provide one of its in-service Dornier aircraft to carry out maritime surveillance.

Additional visits

Mr. Antony said the Navy would also make additional visits to Seychelles this year for surveillance and hydrographic surveys.

During these visits, personnel from Seychelles would be allowed to board Indian ships for maintenance training and conducting drills and exercises.

Mr. Antony also agreed to offer help for capacity building of the Seychellois forces.

The government of India has pledged a donation of 3 new air surveillance assets to the Seychelles – 1 Dornier surveillance aircraft and 2 Chetak helicopters.

The announcement follows a meeting today between Seychelles President James Michel and the Indian Minister for

Indian Minister for Defense A.K. Antony calls on Seychelles President James Michel

Defense A.K. Antony.

“This is [a] concrete example of the special partnership Seychelles has with India.

Together we are ensuring the security of the Indian Ocean and the free flow of maritime traffic,” said President Michel.

President Michel thanked the government and the people of India for the important donation.

“We are grateful to India for all the assistance we have received in the fight against piracy, which will consolidate our defense capabilities. This donation comes shortly after my visit to India, and I am pleased that your cooperation is continuing on such a fast track,” said President Michel.

The military aircraft and helicopters will be produced at Hindustan Aeronautics, Bangalore, in the coming months. Minister Antony said that India is aware of the urgent needs of Seychelles for increased air surveillance capacity and that the government of India is deploying an in-service Dornier aircraft from its own fleet to Seychelles.

“New Delhi will try to supply the new aircraft in 15 months. During this period, India will provide one of her in-service Dornier Aircraft to carry out maritime surveillance,” said Minister Antony.

Minister Antony also said India would provide assistance for new coastal radar systems and that the Indian Navy will also make additional visits this year to conduct surveillance and hydrographic survey in Seychelles waters.

India will also help Seychelles in capacity building of their armed forces. There will be training programs for the Special Forces, as well as the operation of coast radar systems.

The Minister expressed his concern over the increasing reach of Somali pirates around the Indian Ocean and said that the problem of piracy affects all countries of the world.

“This is a problem which calls for cooperation among all countries. The Indian Ocean links us all and is critical for our economic interests. We must cooperate to ensure peace and stability in this region,” said Minister Antony.

During President Michel’s state visit to India in June, the government of India pledged a US$5 million defense grant to Seychelles.

*Update*

India and the Seychelles agreed to take forward their cooperation to tackle the spread of piracy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). On the request of the Seychellois leadership, India also agreed to extend help for maritime and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance operations and capacity building of its Forces.

A press release issued by the Indian Defence Ministry said the decisions were taken at the series of meetings that the visiting Defence Minister AK Antony had with President James Alix Michel, the Vice President Danny Faure, the Minister for Home Affairs Mr Joel Morgan and the Foreign Minister Jean Paul Adam in Mahe.

Antony is leading a high-level delegation, which included the Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and the Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral DK Dewan.

Antony said the problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden affects all countries of the world. He shared the concerns of the Seychelles on the increasing reach of the pirates. “This is a problem which calls for cooperation among all countries. The Indian Ocean links us all and is critical for our economic interests. We must cooperate to ensure peace and stability in this region”, he said.

Antony reiterated New Delhi’s assurance, as conveyed by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during President Michel’s visit to India earlier, for continued cooperation in all fields particularly in the field of Defence and Security. The Prime Minister had announced a $5 million assistance for Defence related projects for Seychelles.

Over and above this, on a specific request from the Seychelles, Antony agreed to provide one new Dornier and two Chetak helicopters from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for maritime surveillance, at the earliest. Although the normal delivery time is 18 to 24 months, he said, New Delhi will try to supply the aircraft in 15 months. During this period, India will provide one of her in-service Dornier Aircraft to carry out maritime surveillance.

Agreeing to a request from the Seychellois side, Antony said India will help them to carry out EEZ surveillance as frequently as possible. He said the Indian Navy will also make additional visits this year to conduct surveillance and hydrographic surveys. During these visits, Seychellois personnel can embark on board the Indian Navy Ships for maintenance training and conduct drills and exercises.  Antony also agreed to offer help for capacity building of the Seychellois Forces.

Source : India Defense Online

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