Continuing with his ongoing tour to the South West Indian Ocean Region, Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Indian Navy, visited Seychelles from 21 to 23 Apr 22.
During the visit, he called on HE MrWavelRamkalawan, Hon’ble President of the Republic of Seychelles, HE MrSylvestreRadegonde, Hon’ble Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism and Brigadier Michael Rosette, the Chief of Defence Force (CDF) of the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF). The discussions covered a wide range of issues of mutual interest including maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region and avenues to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation. The CNS presented a Navigation Chart of Port Victoria, prepared by the National Hydrographic Office (NHO) of India, under the MoU on bilateral hydrographic cooperation.
During the visits to various SDF units and interactions with the leadership, the CNS reminisced his own experiences as the then Naval Advisor to the Government of Seychelles in 2001-02 and complimented the SDF on the development of maritime capabilities as well as their progressive outlook. He also highlighted the significance accorded by both countries to collaborative approach towards maritime security in the Indian Ocean. In this context, CNS deeply appreciated the active participation of Seychelles in the Goa Maritime Conclave, MILAN and Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). Earlier, CDF, Seychelles had attended MILAN-22 at Visakhapatnam in February 2022.
While, the CDF hosted the CNS for a luncheon at SDF Headquarters, the SDF leadership attended a reception onboard Indian Naval Ship Sharda, hosted jointly by Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag (Retd), High Commissioner of India to Seychelles and the CNS. INS Sharda is currently in Seychelles after escorting Coast Guard Ship Zoroaster, a vessel sourced from an Indian Shipyard (GRSE, Kolkata) in 2021, back to Seychelles after her recent deployment to India for participation in MILAN-22 and Guarantee Refit. The CDF expressed a very high regard for the professional refit of Zoroaster in India and thanked the CNS for the excellent support extended by Indian Navy. In addition, he gratefully acknowledged the prompt medical evacuation of a crew member of Zoroaster on 14 Apr 22, from sea by an Indian Navy helicopter.
The interactions of the CNS at Seychelles set in motion a promising trajectory of further growth in the scale and scope of bilateral defence engagements, founded on the principles of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region) and the ‘Five S’ Vision of Sammaan (Respect) – Samvaad (Dialogue) – Sahyog (Cooperation) – Shanti (Peace) and Samriddhi (Prosperity) articulated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.