Victoria, March 11 (IANS): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today described Seychelles as a "vital partner" and said the relationship between the two nations is "unique and special".
Modi, who reached here late Tuesday on the first leg of a three-nation tour, said the two countries share a good relationship.
"It is founded on a deep sense of mutual trust and confidence. It is marked by a spirit of respect and equality and enormous goodwill and warmth," he said in a statement released to the media.
The Prime Minister further said: "It draws strength from our shared values of democracy and inclusiveness. It is nurtured by a common purpose - progress of our people and peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region."
"Seychelles has made impressive progress. It has shown that size is no barrier to the scale of achievements," he said, adding that his visit and conversation with President Michel have reinforced his "conviction in the strength and the importance of this relationship".
Speaking about business cooperation between the two countries, Modi said India is pleased to be a partner in development of human resources and capacity building in Seychelles. "...Indeed, Seychelles is one of the largest recipients of Indian assistance in this area. We intend to expand this further in the future," the Prime Minister said.
"Our agreement today (Wednesday) on hydrographic survey adds a new dimension to our maritime cooperation. I thank Seychelles for their confidence in India. We also hope that Seychelles will soon be a full partner in the maritime security cooperation between India, Maldives and Sri Lanka," he said.
Modi also praised the host country for their expertise in marine resources. "Seychelles is a leader in advancing the concept of blue economy. We also believe that the ocean economy is indispensable to meeting our future challenges," Modi said.
Modi said President James Michel and he agreed to establish a Joint Working Group (JWG) to expand cooperation on the blue economy. "This cooperation will increase our understanding of marine ecology and resources. We will improve our ability to harness new possibilities of the ocean in a sustainable and balanced manner," he said.
The Prime Minister said he was happy that Seychelles had launched direct flight to India for close people to people contact.
"I thanked President Michel for his government's consistent support to India in international forums. This includes the endorsement for India's permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council," he said.
"We had strong convergence of views on climate change. We are two nations that are vulnerable to its impact. And, we are deeply committed to combating it," Modi said.
Modi left on Tuesday from New Delhi for a three-nation tour to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.