Mahe, April 30 (IANS) Noting that India "would always be a trusted development partner of Seychelles", visiting President Pratibha Patil Monday announced a $50 million line of credit and $25 million grant for the Indian Ocean archipelago.
"India would always be a trusted development partner of Seychelles," Patil said in a press statement after talks with her Seychelles counterpart James Alix Michel in Mahe, adding: "In tune with this commitment, I was happy to inform President Michel of India's financial package of a Line of Credit of $50 million and a grant of $25 million for Seychelles.
Expressing satisfaction over the present state of their economic-commercial relations, the two countries agreed that considerable opportunities still exist for further expansion, particularly in the areas of trade and economic cooperation.
Noting that a business delegation from India had joined her to explore business opportunities in Seychelles, Patil said her participation in the Business Forum Meet soon after her arrival April 30 "was very encouraging".
"I am confident that this interaction will further push bilateral relations in the economic and commercial fields," the president added.
"We have agreed to further enhance exchanges in the fields of higher education, manpower development, health, information and communications technology, science and technology, hydrographic surveys, monorail, tourism, hospitality and culture," Patil said.
"In fact, the signing of the MOU on co-operation in the field of youth affairs and sports will go a long way in enhancing people-to-people exchanges also," she added.
The two countries also expressed satisfaction at the present level of bilateral cooperation in the defence and security areas, "especially in the context of combating piracy in the Indian Ocean region".
"Piracy in the region adversely impacts on us all. India reiterated its commitment to provide assistance to Seychelles in the defence sector, including training and deputation of experts. We have seen the signing today of an MOU on co-operation on training of police personnel," Patil said.
The president also expressed her "gratitude" for Seychelles' "valued support on regional and global issues of crucial importance to India".
"Seychelles has consistently supported India's candidature for a permanent membership in an expanded United Nations Security Council. The re-entry of Seychelles as a member of the IOR-ARC will further make the organization more representative and I hope Seychelles will benefit from it," Patil said.
Noting that she had been "privileged" to have been given the opportunity to address a special session of the National Assembly of Seychelles, the president said: "India is keen to enhance parliamentary exchanges between our two countries. I am happy that apart from a minister, two members of parliament are also with me to be part of this historic moment".
Patil said she had invited President Michel to visit India, which he has accepted. The visit will take place on mutually convenient dates.
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