PM off to strategic start: India to develop 2 islands in Indian Ocean

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, Colombo
  • Updated: Mar 12, 2015 08:12 IST

Giving a leg-up to to its plans to increase strategic footprint in Indian Ocean, New Delhi will be developing two islands-- Assumption islands in Seychelles and Agalega in Mauritius.

Though infrastructure development of these islands that India would undertake will be part of the blue economy blueprint, they hold immense strategic significance as it comes in the wake of China expanding its role in the Indian ocean littoral states from Seychelles to Sri Lanka.

Assumption island is north of Madagascar and has a runway as well. Agalega are two outer islands of Mauritius. Though there is no recorded history of it, this group of islands was known to be used by Arab and Malay sailors.

"Our agreement today on the development of infrastructure in the Assumption Island (Seychelles) gives a strong boost to this partnership," said Modi in a media statement. He stressed on the ocean economy playing a vital role in meeting India's future challenges.

"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. Indira Gandhi had visited the country in 1981.

Modi announced that India will give a second Dronier aircraft to the country.

He also launched the Coastal Surveillance Radar Project, describing it as another symbol of the cooperation between the two countries.

"Our security partnership is strong. It has enabled us to fulfil our shared responsibility to advance maritime security in the region," he said, calling the country as a trusted friend and strategic partner.

Modi will take part in the national day celebrations of Mauritius on Thursday and will visit Sri Lanka on Friday.

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