India on Wednesday signed four agreements with the Indian Ocean island nation Seychelles to boost security and maritime partnership.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Seychelles President James Alix Michel and said Seychelles "is a vital partner in our Indian Ocean neighbourhood".
The two nations signed four agreements for cooperation in hydrography, renewable energy, infrastructure development and hydrographic survey for maritime cooperation. Another important agreement is for infrastructure development in the Assumption Island.
Modi hoped that Seychelles will soon become a full partner in the maritime security cooperation between India, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
"Seychelles is a leader in advancing the concept of Blue Economy. We also believe that the Ocean Economy is indispensable to meeting our future challenges," said PM Modi. "Today, President Michel and I have agreed to establish a Joint Working Group to expand our cooperation on the blue economy," Modi said.
Along with Mauritius, Seychelles is currently an observer at the Indo-Lanka - Male National Security Advisor level dialogue.
India launched a coastal surveillance radar project, gifted Seychelles a Dornier aircraft for enhancing maritime security capabilities and received an island on lease for surveillance, as measures to boost its security ties with the key Indian Ocean region nation.
"Short it may be, but this visit has been very productive. It is no surprise that Seychelles is my first destination in the Indian Ocean Region," Modi, the first Prime Minister to visit Seychelles in 34 years, said.
"We expressed support for a more active and productive Indian Ocean Rim Association," Modi said.
Earlier, Modi and Mauritian Prime Minister Aneerood Jugnauth signed five agreements, one on opening up the “ocean economy”, or “blue economy”. Another is a key memorandum of understanding that will see India taking over responsibility to build transport infrastructure (sea and air links) for the Agalega Islands.