Indian Navy has deployed one Dornier to Seychelles under a government to government memorandum of undertaking. The Dornier is stationed at Victoria, capital of Seychelles and will be operated for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance and anti-piracy patrols.
The aircraft will be operated by Indian aircrew in response to requirements projected by the Seychellois government. This step will bridge the requirement till a new Dornier under manufacture at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited,India, is handed over to the Seychelles government.
It may be recalled that during the last visit of Defence Minister Shri AK Antony to Seychelles, India and Seychelles agreed to take forward their cooperation to tackle the spread of piracy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). On the request of the Seychellois leadership, India agreed to facilitate Seychelles’ acquisition of one new Dornier and two Chetak helicopters from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for maritime surveillance. Shri Antony had said “The Indian Ocean links us all and is critical for our economic interests. We must cooperate to ensure peace and stability in this region”.
On an earlier occassion the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh had praised the work of Seychelles in combating piracy and said “Seychelles is a pillar of strength and support for India”. He added that India will intensify its maritime surveillance in the Indian Ocean and support Seychelles in its efforts to ensure the maritime security of its waters. India is now helping Seychelles with military training and capacity building, the fight against piracy and developing an information technology training centre. Seychelles and India have also signed a military cooperation agreement to give the Special Forces Unit of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces concentrated training in special forces operations, VIP protection duties, commando operations and deep sea diving.
India has also pledged a defence grant worth US $5 million to boost Seychelles’ capability to defend its territory against pirate attacks.