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Victoria, March 11, 2015 (PTI) Seeking to expand its footprint in the strategic Indian Ocean, India on Wednesday agreed to help Seychelles in mapping its hydrology reserves.

Four agreements were signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit who launched a coastal surveillance radar project to boost security cooperation with the island nation. Modi also announced that India will give a second Dronier aircraft to Seychelles and provide free visas for three months for its citizens and making it available to them on arrival.

After one-to-one and delegation-level talks with Seyechelles President James Alix Michel, Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Seychelles in 34 years, also said they underlined the importance of comprehensive cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. v“We expressed support for a more active and productive Indian Ocean Rim Association,” Modi, who arrived here on Monday on the first leg of his three-nation tour, told reporters.

He also launched the Coastal Surveillance Radar Project, describing it as another symbol of the cooperation between the two countries. Amid increasing Chinese focus on the Indian Ocean, India is aiming to pitch in with all help to island nations like Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. China has been making inroads into these island nations with infrastructure projects that has raised India’s eyebrows. The first CSR would be based in Mahe Island, capital of Seychelles.

“This is part of the capability enhancement project for Seychelles in which India is helping,” official sources said, adding that it will help keep a watch on the coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone and combat piracy.

Modi and Michel witnessed the signing of four agreements: cooperation in hydrographyic survey, renewable energy, infrastructure development and jointly develop navigation charts and electronic navigational charts for sale to other countries.


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