The comment was made by both the Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture standing for his Foreign Affairs colleague Joel Morgan, and Indian high commissioner Sanjay Panda.
They were talking on the bridge of the INS Kolkata – the Indian navy’s largest destroyer – on Friday evening where they both toasted to the prosperity of the Indian and Seychellois people.
Part of the Indian navy’s Western Fleet, the INS Kolkata along with the accompanying INS Trikand an INS Aditya had been in Seychelles since Thursday. The visit was part of what the Indian government has named the SAGAR (Security and Growth in the Region) mission. The Indian navy has for the last few years also been taking part in the surveillance of Seychelles’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the framework of a defence cooperation agreement between the two countries.
Other actions have included the involvement of the Indian navy in past National Day parades, involvement of patrol boat ‘Topaz’ in the recent International Fleet Review in India and an interceptor boat offered as a gift to the Seychelles Coast Guard by the Indian government.
Guests on Friday evening included Designated Minister and Minister for Social Affairs, Community Development and Sports Vincent Meriton, Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St Ange, Supreme Court Judge Durai Karunakaran, members of the diplomatic corps, Attorney General Rony Govinden, deputy Chief of Seychelles Defence Forces Colonel Clifford Roseline, other military officers among other invitees.
They were greeted on board by the Commander of India’s Western Fleet Rear Admiral Ravneet Singh who expressed gratitude for the warm welcome he and his crew have received in Seychelles.
Reminding that the INS Kolkata’s visit to Victoria represents her maiden voyage after she was commissioned two years ago, he commented that the call will strengthen the bridges of friendship in the special relations between the two countries.
Hoping to come back soon, he said he hoped that the call will bring the relations “to the next level”.
Reminding that at independence 40 years ago an Indian navy ship was in Port Victoria to “welcome Seychelles in the community of nations”, he added that he had the dream when the commissioning of the INS Kolkata coincided with his posting here.
“We have made our journey together and we haven’t looked back,” he said.
Commenting that both countries are committed to protecting the oceans for posterity, Minister Cosgrow thanked India for continuing to support Seychelles’ development, particularly in the fields of health, education, energy, transport, drug rehabilitation and defence.
As he looked forward to the coming 9th Indo-Seychelles Joint Commission and to bringing the cooperation to greater heights, the minister welcomed developing cooperation in the blue economy.
The three navy ships left Port Victoria yesterday after the crew had taken part in social and charitable activities. These have included a medical camp, while the ships were opened to the public on Saturday.
A joint training exercise at sea was scheduled yesterday with the Seychelles Coast Guard.
Source : Seychelles NATION