New Delhi (Sputnik) – The Indian government has planned a grand welcome for President of Seychelles Danny Faure during his five-day visit starting June 24.
The Narendra Modi government will host Danny Faure across four cities — Panaji, Ahmedabad, Dehradun and New Delhi — during his first ever state visit to India.
During his visit to Ahmedabad, President Faure will interact with management students at the Indian Institute of Management; while in Dehradun, he will discuss agricultural technology with Indian officials that can be part of an agreement between the two nations.
The Narendra Modi government is also expected to announce infrastructure development projects for the island nation.
The visit is happening against the backdrop of an announcement made on June 4 by President Faure that the Assumption Island project with India will not move forward.
Seychelles is giving this island to India for up to 30 years. Indian Navy will use this. pic.twitter.com/iygNwaU87T— Haider 🌴 (@RizviSaahib) June 18, 2018
The objective of the agreement was to assist Seychelles to secure its vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including that near the Mozambique Channel, located over a thousand kilometers from the main island of Mahé. As per the terms of the agreement, the facilities on Assumption Island were to be funded by India, owned by Seychelles and jointly managed by both sides.
"In next year's budget, we will put funds for us to build a coastguard facility on Assumption ourselves. It is important for us to ensure that we have a military post in this area," the president of Seychelles had said in a press conference.
The Indian government has come under immense criticism following the calling off of the project by Seychelles.
The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, has canceled the project to build a military base with the help of India on the Ascension Island. Seychelles will build its own base nextyear with its own money. The agreement between India and Seychelles was signed in2015.#ModiDiplomacy— Rahulgadi4pm (@rahulgandi4pm) June 18, 2018
"India has already conveyed to the Seychelles government that New Delhi is not in a hurry and they can take time to make consensus with the opposition," a source told Sputnik.
In the case of Seychelles, you have to say it was very unfortunate to get entangled in the domestic politics than failure of Indian FP. Especially after the leader of opposition promised his support in Jan 2018. India has continued high level engagements, which is commendable— Vyshak Vitobha (@vyshakmv) June 20, 2018
Many believe that it is China that orchestrated the plan to scuttle the project, which was primarily mooted by Beijing in 2011. However, sources told Sputnik that New Delhi has not yet sniffed any sign that the ongoing problem is due to the meddling of any other foreign powers, but it is more due to domestic politicking against the backdrop of the upcoming presidential election in Seychelles, scheduled for later this year.
Seychelles’ decision to dump the defence pact with India after signing it shows uneven nature of diplomacy in Trump era. Shows the need for a constant follow-up by India with small nations being enticed by China to achieve long term results. @MEAIndia @SushmaSwaraj @narendramodi— Uday Mahurkar (@UdayMahurkar) June 17, 2018
"I do not see it as a failure of Indian diplomacy. Although New Delhi clearly lacks the politico-diplomatic-economic coercive power that the Chinese have amply demonstrated in acquiring such bases overseas; or thwarting India's proposals, the exercise of such power is not sustainable in the longer run," Dr. Gurpreet S. Khurana — executive director of the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi, India and a captain in the Indian Navy told Sputnik.
4th International #YogaDay (#IDY2018) celebrations in #Seychelles. Special Sessions for Senior Citizens, Children, Lower Back Pain and breathing & meditation sessions also conducted as part of the celebrations, more than 1K yoga enthusiasts took part in the celebration. pic.twitter.com/66S8wH2uo1— India in Seychelles (@hci_seychelles) June 16, 2018
While the forthcoming bilateral talks may be too early to witness any breakthrough, analysts like Captain Khurana are optimistic that sooner, rather than later, the political leadership in Port Victoria will eventually be able to convince all stakeholders in Seychelles that the Indian offer is in their national interest.
"While India may be doing whatever it possibly can to convince the political leadership of Seychelles of the merits of the naval facility on Assumption Island, it always takes 'two to tango'. Even though the case enjoys a bipartisan political support in the island state, the apex leadership of Seychelles has not yet been able to convince its own the broader constituency and the activists of the imperative of comprehensive maritime security for the island nation and the key role that India can play," Khurana added.