Seychelles rejects $550m Indian military deal

Seychelles’ opposition coalition, which holds a majority in parliament, said on Tuesday that it would not ratify a deal signed with India to build a military base on one of the archipelago’s outlying islands.

The deal would see India invest USD 550 million dollars in building the base on Assumption island to help it ensure the safety of its vessels in the southern Indian Ocean.

Indian soldiers would be deployed on the island which lies 1,135 kilometres southwest from the capital Victoria and helps train Seychelles’ troops.

However, the deal has faced some resistance from locals, and Wavel Ramkalawan, head of the opposition Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (Seychelles Democratic Union in Creole) said the coalition “will not ratify the Assumption deal. This deal is dead”.

The LDS had held a majority in parliament since its victory in 2016 legislative elections.

On Monday, President Danny Faure said he would meet with Ramkalawan on March 26 to discuss the deal, which was agreed in principle in 2015 and then finalised in January this year.

The government says the base will help coastguards to patrol its 1.3 million square kilometres exclusive economic zone for illegal fishing, drug trafficking and piracy.

Currently, the remote coral island has a tin shack post office, an airstrip and almost no people. Less than seven kilometres long the island has a high point just 30 metres above sea level and is covered in bird excrement.

But its location lends its strategic importance for monitoring shipping in the Mozambique Channel.

However, Indian presence in Seychelles is a sensitive matter. Some fear an influx of Indian workers who, they say, might come to dominate the economy, while others consider a foreign power building a military base an affront to sovereignty and national pride.

Opponents of the plan also cite Assumption’s relative proximity to Aldabra Atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises.

Source: Deccan chronicle

03 comments on “Seychelles rejects $550m Indian military deal

  • Edgar Turkson , Direct link to comment

    Edgar Turkson
    If ,as I am hearing now, the Ghanaian Parliament has duly ratified the Ghana-America Military Alignment Treaty, as the govt of Ghana recommended, then it is clear that the NPP govt in Ghana is in power for its selfish ends, far from being there to be guided by what is in the national interest. The nationwide spontaneous reaction, characterised by demonstrations and non stop public debate on mass media etc with a straw poll of majority opinion opposed to ratification, regardless of the consequences, if any.
    At a time when such military alliances are proving to be out of fashion as world wide,!o enter into such agreements, is to incur the displeasure of fundamental Islam and associated terrorism. Furthermore 20 million Yankee money for ratification is of no benefit to mother Ghana. In sum it is not worth dying for and Ghana should remain friends with all nations and enjoy living in peace and harmony, not aligned to a country like America and be permanently troubled.

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