India positions naval aircraft in Seychelles

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - India Thursday said it has deployed a naval aircraft in the Seychelles to carry out surveillance of the Indian Ocean island nation’s territorial waters as part of anti-piracy efforts.

Indian Navy has deployed a Dornier (aircraft) to the Seychelles under a government-to-government memorandum of understanding. The Dornier is stationed at Victoria, capital of the Seychelles, and will be operated for exclusive economic zone surveillance and anti-piracy patrols, a navy spokesperson said here.

The aircraft would be operated by an Indian aircrew in response to requirements projected by the Seychelles government.

The step will bridge the requirement (of the Seychelles) till a new Dornier under manufacture at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is handed over to the Seychelles government, the spokesperson said.

During the visit of Defence Minister A.K. Antony to the Seychelles, India had agreed to its government’s request to take forward the bilateral cooperation to tackle the spread of piracy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

India agreed to facilitate the Seychelles’ acquisition of a new Dornier aircraft and two Chetak helicopters from HAL for maritime surveillance.

Antony had then said: The Indian Ocean links us all and is critical for our economic interests. We must cooperate to ensure peace and stability in this region.

On an earlier occasion, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had praised the work of the Seychelles in combating piracy and said: Seychelles is a pillar of strength and support for India.

He had said that India would intensify its maritime surveillance in the Indian Ocean and support the Seychelles in its efforts to ensure the maritime security of its waters.

India is now helping the Seychelles with military training and capacity building, the fight against piracy and indeveloping an information technology training centre.

The two countries have also signed a military cooperation agreement to train the Special Forces of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces in VIP protection duties, commando operations and deep sea diving.

India has also pledged a defence grant worth $5 million to boost the Seychelles’ capability to defend its territory against pirate attacks.

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