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Four key India-backed projects in Seychelles to be launched at Thursday’s leadership virtual meet

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take part in a high level virtual event with President of Seychelles Wavel Ramkalawan on Thursday to inaugurate a range of Indian supported projects in the Western Indian Ocean region country as part of New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific vision.

The high level virtual event will feature Joint e-inauguration of the new Magistrates’ Court Building in Seychelles; Handing over of a Fast Patrol Vessel to Seychelles Coast Guard.

Handing over of a 1 MW Solar Power Plant; Inauguration of 10 High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs).

The new Magistrates’ Court Building in the capital city Victoria, is India’s first major civil infrastructure project in Seychelles built with grant assistance. The Magistrates’ Court is a state of the art building which will substantially enhance the capacity of the Seychelles judicial system and aid in better delivery of judicial services to the people of Seychelles, according to an official statement.

The Magistrates’ Court Building houses eight court rooms spread over three floors; waiting areas for the public and parking space for court users, police vans and magistrates; separated holding cells for men, women and child accused; multi-functional conference rooms, meeting rooms and video rooms.

The 50-m Fast Patrol Vessel, which is a modern and fully equipped naval ship, has been made in India by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineering Ltd. (GRSE) Kolkata, and is being gifted to Seychelles under Indian grant assistance to strengthen its maritime surveillance capabilities.

The *48.9 m Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) has been built at a cost of INR 100 crores. The ship will be used for multi-purpose operations, such as patrolling, anti-smuggling, anti-poaching, and search and rescue (SAR).

Christened as ‘PS Zoroaster’, the FPV is the fourth ship to be gifted by India to Seychelles. The other vessels gifted by India include PS Topaz (2005), PS Constant (2014), Patrol Boat Hermes (2016). Over 50% of Seychelles’ maritime and air assets and around 70% of capacity development in terms of training, exercise and human resource expertise are provided by India.

The 1 MW ground-mounted Solar power plant at the Romainville Island of Seychelles has been completed as part of the ‘Solar PV Democratization Project’ being implemented in Seychelles by the Government of India under grant assistance. The 1 MW solar project is in addition to the installing of solar systems at 146 Government building rooftops and domestic households which has already been completed and commissioned.

The 1 MW solar plant project will generate around 14 lakh Units of power annually meeting electricity consumption of around 400 Seychellois houses all round the year. The plant is also expected to save an annual consumption of 3,25,000 Ltrs of fuel for Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) of Seychelles resulting in overall savings of around SCR 3.5 Million (approx USD 2.25 lakh) per year to PUC.

The virtual event will also see the handing over of 10 High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) implemented by the High Commission of India in collaboration with local bodies, educational and vocational institutions.

These HICDP projects are aimed at implementing small people oriented projects which contribute significantly towards the socio-economic development and improvement of local communities. 29 projects have so far been taken up for execution under this MoU.

The inauguration of these key projects demonstrates India’s privileged and time-tested role as a reliable partner of Seychelles for meeting its infrastructural, developmental and security requirements, according to the official statement.

Seychelles occupies a central place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ – ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’. During Prime Minister’s tour of Indian Ocean countries in 2015, Seychelles was the first destination of PM, after which he also visited Mauritius and Sri Lanka. This was the first Prime Ministerial level visit to Seychelles after a gap of 33 years. It was during this tour of the Indian Ocean countries, the PM had pronounced India’s vision of ‘SAGAR- Security and Growth for All in the region’.

The virtual event will be the first interaction of Modi with Ramkalawan. President Wavel Ramkalawan came to power after landmark victory in October 2020 elections in Seychelles. His party Linyon Democratic Seselwa has 2/3rd majority in the Seychelles National Assembly.

The External Affairs Minister was the first Foreign Minister to visit Seychelles after assumption of office by the newly elected Ramkalawan. During his visit to Seychelles on 27-28 November 2020 where he carried a personal congratulatory message from PM Modi for the newly elected President of Seychelles.

Ramkalawan is of Indian origin. He has his ancestral roots in Gopalganj district of Bihar. He visited India in January 2018 as a part of the PIO Parliamentarian’s Conference and also visited his native village ‘Parsauni’. There are three ministers – i.e. Devika Vidot, Billy Rangasamy and Naadir Hassan – in his cabinet with Indian origins.

Seychelles has also been one of the first beneficiaries of *India’s Covid assistance*. Seychelles received over 4 tonnes of life saving medicines including 50,000 tablets of HCQ under Mission ‘SAGAR’ in May 2020. Seychelles was the first African country to have received 50,000 doses of COVISHIELD vaccine doses from India on January 22 under India’s Vaccine Maitri initiative.

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