63rd Republic Day of India-‘Like India, Seychelles also views its diversity as its strength,’ says minister


Mr Darlong addressing guests at the ceremony

Addressing guests at a reception at the Wharf Hotel and Marina to mark the occasion on Thursday, he said the birth of the Indian nation is a victory for freedom and equality around the world, for it illustrates that diversity is strength.

Guests included Vice-President Danny Faure, other ministers, the Indian high commissioner, Thanglura Darlong, the Leader of the Opposition David Pierre, church leaders and other dignitaries, some of whom joined for the symbolic “lighting of the lamp”.

Noting that though Seychelles is in contrast one of the smallest countries of the world, we have since our independence felt that our diversity as people is one of our strengths, Mr Adam said.

He recalled that when Seychelles was only a colonial outpost, many Indian traders established themselves in Seychelles and provided the trading link with the sub-continent and beyond, which allowed Seychelles to grow.

Today, 36 years after our independence, Seychelles, with India as a major partner in the Indian Ocean, share an affinity based on mutual security, exchanges at all levels and most importantly, trust between our peoples.

Mr Adam said that President Michel’s state visit to India in June 2010, has given further impetus to the strategic cooperation between our two countries.

Minister Adam and high commissioner Darlong proposing a toast

We have also received high level visits in Seychelles by the Indian ministers of external relations and of defence.

“Through this cooperation, we have worked together against the scourge of piracy. As our patrol boat Topaz has been engaged in several successful engagements against pirate groups, we are thankful to the government of India for its foresight and support in helping Seychellles to defend itself and the ocean that we share through this donation.”

Mr Adam also noted that India made a $5 million grant -- that was announced following the President’s visit -- which has been instrumental in ensuring that we are capable of adapting to the new challenges posed by maritime piracy.

Mr Adam also noted that the Indian Dornier aircraft in Seychelles to boost our aerial surveillance at this time is also a model for military co-operation and south-south cooperation in general.

High commissioner Darlong said India presently has the 9th biggest economy in the world, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said development growth is presently 8% and banks forecast that India will be the world’s largest by 2050.
Besides being a major producer of cereals, including rice and wheat, Indian is also a leading manufacturer of aircraft, ships and other hardware.

He also mentioned the Indian gift of the Topaz and the stationing of the Dornier aircraft for aerial surveillance, especially against piracy, but also for search and rescue, as excellent examples of good neighbourly cooperation.

Mr Darlong noted that the Tata and Ashok Leyland buses on Seychelles roads were perhaps the most visible signs of such strong cooperation.

He also mentioned the telemedicine system at Seychelles Hospital as another shining example of the strong links in health and education.
After the speeches, the guests, among whom were many members of the Indian community, watched a fashion show and dances from various parts of India -- from the Punjab in the north to Tamil Nadu in the south.

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