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India 'main partner' of Seychelles: Wavel Ramkalawan

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Hailing as the "main partner" of Seychelles, a top of that country today said has never bracketed the island nation as a "high-country" while offering help, unlike which would tell it to sort out problems on its own.

Delivering a talk at the Sapru House here, of Opposition in the of Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan, also said, "is not a major concern for us at the present time. Our security concerns are piracy, drug threat and poaching."

Ramkalawan, whose ancestors hailed from Bihar, is from the National Party (SNP), which has a majority in the 33-member Assembly.

During his talk 'of my dreams', hosted by the of World Affairs, he spoke about the opportunities and challenges in his country, the relationship with and the old cultural ties between the two nations.

"Whenever we ask for help, it doesn't look at us as high-country. would tell us, you're high- country so go sort it yourself," he said.

"We consider India as the main partner...India has helped us with hydrological maps and not sold to us, but given to us as gifts. And, we want the ties to go higher," Ramkalawan said.

The presently heads the National Assembly's Outer Island Committee, the and National Reconciliation and the

In response to a question, over reports of a naval base being planned by India in the Assumption Island, he said, "would never accept any naval base of any country, be it the US or India or any other."

Ramkalawa emphasised the bilateral ties between the two countries and said the "second Dornier aircraft from India would arrive very soon".

India few years ago had agreed to give the Dornier DO-228 aircraft to Seychelles to carry out surveillance and anti- piracy missions.

"Supervising our territory needs a lot of help...If we have a facility in the south, we can patrol the area for poaching, drug trafficking or piracy," he said, adding that cooperation of India is much-needed in this area.

He also emphasised that Seychelles has a "world responsibility" towards conservation of environment, the islands and their biodiversity.

The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East It's home to numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as giant tortoises.

"The green turtle is an endangered species, but at least now the number of female turtles are rising. We need to protect our territory but Seychelles also needs to be a champion of environmental protection.

"Also, our beautiful country is called a paradise, and we want people to visit it. But, mass tourism is not on the agenda, instead it is as of now restricted to resorts and small hotels," he said.

He also alleged that there was "slowness on part of the present in moving projects, which have been supported by India".

"The projects, which were conceived received during recent high-level visit, were not brought to the Assembly for ratification by the then of Seychelles. But, we will sort it out soon, and by February, try to bring it to Assembly for ratification," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 08 2018. 21:40 IST