Seychelles is set and ready to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is expected in the country this evening on a one-day visit.
Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Seychelles will provide opportunities to build on the close contacts at the highest political level and enhance mutual cooperation and understanding on major issues of common interest.
The Indian high commissioner to Seychelles, Sanjay Panda, has described PM Modi’s visit as “short but substantive”.
PM Modi will leave tomorrow afternoon for Mauritius, the next destination of his three-nation Indian Ocean tour.
PM Modi will meet President James Michel tomorrow morning at State House for talks. Several memorandums of understanding and agreements are expected to be signed. They represent defence and security cooperation, renewable energy and maritime cooperation.
According to Mr Panda, PM Modi will also make a public address at the Palais des Sports in Roche Caïman and more than 3,000 people are expected to attend. “During the public address, PM Modi will speak about his vision of India and that of the Seychelles-India relationship,” said Mr Panda.
Mr Panda added that PM Modi will be coming to Seychelles with a clear vision – to cooperate with Seychelles in the area of ocean economy.
“We all have a mutual stake in the Blue Economy concept that is being championed by Seychelles and President Michel in particular. The Blue Economy is a subject which is very close to the President’s heart and is also a subject our Prime Minister feels is an important component of cooperation for India and small island developing states. By championing the Blue Economy concept, Seychelles has a leadership role in this area and this gives us a major avenue of cooperation which our two countries should discuss,” added Mr Panda.
Seychelles is the first stop of PM Modi’s tour of the Indian Ocean and he will hold bilateral discussions with President Michel to strengthen maritime ties and enhance bilateral development cooperation.
Several agreements are set to be inked between Seychelles and India during the visit. PM Modi will be the second Indian prime minister to visit Seychelles after Indira Gandhi’s visit in 1981.
India’s bilateral cooperation with Seychelles is mainly in the field of health, education, defence and maritime security.
The Indian media reported yesterday that Prime Minister Modi on Sunday said he was looking forward to enhancing India’s ties with the friendly Indian Ocean countries of Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka during his five-day visit.
In a series of tweets from his Twitter handle @narendramodi, linked to the Facebook account, PM Modi said the Indian Ocean region “is a region of great inspiration for us and India attaches paramount importance to strengthening relations with this region”.
PM Modi said he was “eagerly awaiting” his visit to Seychelles.
“I am very glad that I am able to visit Seychelles early on during my tenure and I look forward to working with President (James Alix) Michel to strengthen co-operation between India and Seychelles,” wrote PM Modi.
He said India’s relationship with Seychelles was “a very special one, built on the foundation of mutual trust and shared values”.
After Seychelles, PM Modi will visit Mauritius on March 11-12 where he will hold intensive meetings with Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth to further strengthen India’s special and unique relations with that country.
PM Modi will also be the chief guest at the Mauritian National Day celebrations.
Besides meeting the Mauritian prime minister, PM Modi will also call on President Kailash Purryag, and meet leader of the opposition, Paul Berenger.
He is likely to address the Mauritian parliament on March 12. Besides meeting other political personalities of the island, PM Modi will pay a visit to the Ganga Talao and Appravasi Ghat, both of which are associated with the arrival of the Indian indentured labour to Mauritius. He will also visit the Mahatma Gandhi Institute.
During the visit to Mauritius, several MoUs are set to be inked, including an agreement to ease sea and air transport.
PM Modi’s final stop will be Sri Lanka on March 13-14, during which he will hold meetings with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
To coincide with the visit of PM Modi, Seychelles NATION will tomorrow carry a special supplement.