In June 2018, Seychelles’ President Danny Antoine Rollen Faure visited India and brought media attention to this small archipelago. The two countries have agreed to work on the stalled military base on Assumption Island.
Assumption Island is located in the outer group of the 115 islands that make up the boundary of Seychelles, lying north of Madagascar, which is a strategic location.
The bigger picture here is that India, together with France and the USA, will establish a sound surveillance system to keep an eye on the Indian Ocean. The system will closely monitor the movement of naval traffic through the region. As part of a recent logistics support deal, India will have also access to France’s naval bases in Djibouti and Reunion, and the US base at Diego Garcia. Apart from this, Assumption and Agalega are a part of India’s Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR) initiative. This policy is embedded in New Delhi’s vision “to seek a climate of trust and transparency; respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries; sensitivity to each other’s interests; peaceful resolution of maritime security issues; and increase in maritime cooperation.”
India had been anxious to get the deal since it had been rejected earlier this year. The opposition in Seychelles forms a majority and was opposed to the project, hence President Faure was unable to sign it. The opposition feared that the naval base would attract China’s attention and Seychelles could not afford a confrontation between the two Asian countries.
New Delhi, in order to further strengthen the bond, has offered a $100-million line of credit that Seychelles can use to acquire Indian defence equipment to boost its maritime capacity. It will also provide a second Dornier aircraft for the Seychelles military. A special grant for the construction of infrastructure, including a police academy, a government house and a new office for the Attorney General has also been given to Seychelles.