Members of the Media,
It is always a great pleasure to welcome home a special friend, which President Michel certainly is.
I am also delighted to reciprocate President Michel’s exceptional hospitality in March, this year.
He has led his country with great vision. He is a strong global voice of concern on climate change, especially for small island countries.
Excellency, just as we appreciate your country’s beauty, we admire your nation’s progress.
Let me repeat what I said in Seychelles: Your country shows that size is no barrier to the scale of achievements.
President Michel has also been instrumental for the progress in our relationship. We value this greatly because Seychelles is a key strategic partner for India.
Just as the range of our interests are broad, so are the foundations of our relationship deep – our shared values, ties of kinship, unmatched mutual respect and trust, and a partnership of equality.
I am pleased that we are making good progress on the decisions from my very productive visit in March. President Michel’s visit has imparted additional momentum to our relations.
We have excellent security cooperation, especially for maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.
We are honoured to be a partner in providing aircraft, naval vessels and coastal radar systems for strengthening surveillance capacities. Our cooperation in hydrography surveys is extensive and growing.
I have conveyed that India will gift one more Interceptor Coastguard boat to Seychelles.
In March, I had announced that we would gift a second Dornier aircraft to Seychelles. I am pleased that we have completed the process quickly and signed the agreement today.
President and I place strong emphasis on Ocean or Blue Economy. I believe, as he does, that we should look at small island countries as large ocean states with vast potential.
We are pleased that sustainable use of oceans and marine resources is a distinct element in the Sustainable Development Goals in the United Nations that were finalised recently.
Our bilateral agreement for cooperation on blue economy is a huge step forward in our relationship and in promoting sustainable ocean economy in the region.
We look forward to cooperating in Space, including in the areas of managing land and marine resources, fisheries advisory, weather forecasting and disaster management.
We have begun preparations for infrastructure development on the Assumption Island in Seychelles.
We had spoken in March about improving connectivity. The Air Services Agreement today will enable more and easier connections between the two countries.
Climate change is a major global challenge. It is a serious threat to island countries like Seychelles. With a shoreline of 7500 kilometres and nearly 1300 islands, India has similar concerns.
We both have ambitious national plans for a more sustainable future. We also work together for a comprehensive, balanced and effective outcome on climate change at COP 21 in Paris later this year.
I shared our desire to press for reforms of the United Nations, including its Security Council, in this 70th anniversary year.
We greatly appreciate Seychelles’ support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded United Nations Security Council.
I also conveyed our desire to work with Small Island Developing States to realise their vision of Samoa Pathway and to be a source of strength for each other in international forums.
I thank President Michel for his support for the Third India-Africa Forum Summit to be held in October.
Let me also express our gratitude to Seychelles for their active support in making the International Day of Yoga a big success.
Excellency, we are two nations of vastly different sizes. But, this relationship is an outstanding model of international partnership. This special and unique relationship will always be at the centre of our interests.
I am confident that this milestone year for our relationship will be the springboard for taking our strategic partnership to a new level.
Thank you very much.