SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA, H.E. SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL ON THE OCCASION OF A COCKTAIL DINATOIRE HOSTED BY THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES H.E. MR. JAMES ALIX MICHEL
Seychelles, 30th April 2012
His Excellency Mr. James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles and Mrs. Natalie Michel,
His Excellency Mr. Danny Faure, Vice President of Seychelles,
Dr. Patrick Herminie, Speaker,
Mr. Fredrick Egonda Ntende, Chief Justice
Mr. Francis Macgregor, President of the Court of Appeal,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My delegation and I are delighted to be in your captivatingly beautiful country. I am truly touched by the extraordinarily warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to me and my delegation. I bring with me the greetings and best wishes of the people of India for the friendly people of Seychelles, with whom we share long lasting bonds of understanding and cooperation.
Mr. President, the discussions I had with you, the Vice President and several Cabinet ministers were wide ranging and fruitful. These reaffirm the shared desire of both countries to further reinforce our partnership. Cooperation in the fields of defence and security, education and health, technical and economic cooperation, infrastructure development, tourism and in other mutually beneficial issues will continue to be the pillars of the edifice of our friendship in the years to come. India stands ready to be a partner of Seychelles in its quest for faster socio-economic development and building its security capabilities through technical co-operation, financial and material assistance. I am happy to announce that in tune with our commitment to assist Seychelles in its developmental efforts, India has offered a financial package including a Line of Credit of US$ 50 million and a grant of US$ 25 million. This morning we have also concluded two MOUs - one on co-operation on training of police personnel and the other on co-operation in sports and youth affairs.
As two vibrant democracies we share common values and common goals. The opportunity to address a special session of the National Assembly of Seychelles today, and India being the first country to be asked to address the national assembly, was therefore a great honour for me. India would like to increase cooperation between the two Parliaments, and would welcome greater exchange of visits between the Members of Parliaments of the two countries.
Since my arrival in Seychelles I also had very productive interactions with the business community of Seychelles who have deliberated with their Indian counterparts to identify opportunities for trade, business and investment. It is noteworthy that a person of Indian origin has been elected as the Chairman of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The local Indian origin community has been a part and parcel of the long history of this country. I understand that they have greatly contributed to the development and prosperity of this great country.
Excellency, India's age-old relationship with Africa and its deep connection with Africa continue and it has through a process of constant nurturing, found expression in a new matrix of wide-ranging cooperation in the India Africa Forum Summits. The dynamism imparted to our relationship with Africa also impacts on the expansion of our engagement with Seychelles. I am happy that we have been able to increase the number of scholarships for Seychellois to study in India. We encourage more Seychellois students to utilize and benefit from special agriculture scholarships, C.V. Raman fellowships for science & technology, special African programmes as well as under the ITEC programme. We hope that the IT Centre and the Pan-Africa e-network System, with its tele-education and tele-medicine components have been found to be useful contributions to your developmental efforts. India has offered to set up solar energy stations to improve the energy situation in Seychelles and, as desired by Seychelles, we are looking at the feasibility of setting up photovoltaic street lighting.
India takes genuine pride in the many achievements of Seychelles and the steady progress of its friendly people. My interactions with the leadership in Seychelles, confirm that our two countries share the objective of further strengthening of our multi-faceted, multi-dimensional relations. This augurs well for the future of India-Seychelles relations. I am confident that my visit will provide additional impetus and momentum to our friendship.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I request you to join me in raising a toast:-
- to the health and well-being of our gracious host, His Excellency Mr. James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles and Mrs. Natalie Michel;
- to the continued success, prosperity and happiness of the Seychellois people; and
- to the enduring partnership between India and Seychelles.