Such is the conviction of the Seychelles Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Leopold Payet, as he officially closed the exercise on Saturday morning at the Ile Perseverance Coast Guard Base.
“It is with much regret, but great pride that I bring Exercise Cutlass Express 2016 to a close,” said Brigadier Payet at the end of the regional military exercise which had been going on in Seychelles and extended to the waters of Djibouti since the January 30.
Reminding the raison d’être of the exercise – the necessity to find solution to maritime threats especially piracy which he says has brought much hardship to the region — , Brigadier Payet said that the scenarios have unfolded as planned with the participating forces and soldiers gathering tremendous knowledge and the lessons learnt going a long way in making the region safer.
“I am convinced that the interactions during the high level workshop and lessons learnt through the exercise will go a long way towards better coordination between us and eventually make our region safe and secure”, Brigadier Payet said.
He consequently asked the partners to maintain the link created as a result of the interaction and ensure the safety of our maritime space.
He also invited the regional forces to continue making full use of SPDF’s facilities for the benefit of the whole region.
As for the SPDF units and the regional anti-piracy centre Reflecs 3, the army chief thanked them for the organisation of what he described as a complex exercise.
Rear Admiral Tom Reck, Commander of the Unite States 6th Fleet which had been supporting the exercise, also commented on its success which he termed as a “tremendous achievement”.
He remarked that all countries and organisations concerned are committed to regional security, which he added is possible through cooperation.
“Our collective presence matters and it contributes to security in the region, as do the partnerships and friendships we develop during this exercise. Established and tested partnerships will help us overcome the challenges that threaten freedom and security in the world’s oceans. Cutlass Express is, and will continue to be, our opportunity to build such relationships,” he said.
The ceremony ended with presentation of certificates to representatives of the Indian Ocean and east African countries as well as organisations which have taken part in the exercise.
Source : Seychelles NATION