Victoria (Seychelles), Apr 29 - In the backdrop of the menace posed by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, India today said it was determined to work with Seychelles to ensure a secure environment for the benefit of the two countries.
President Pratibha Patil, who arrived here to a warm welcome for a two-day state visit, said "India and Seychelles share the waters of the Indian ocean".
"The Indian Ocean is a strong bond between us. We are committed to work together closely in order to ensure the safety and security of the Indian Ocean Region in the face of threats of piracy and terrorism".
Noting that the strategically located Island Republic of Seychelles falls in the seaways of the global trade route, Patil said "we are determined to work with the Government of Seychelles to ensure a secure environment for the mutual benefit of our peoples".
Patil's remarks are significant as there is extensive cooperation between India and Seychelles in areas of defence and security.
India has provided defence equipment and gifted a naval patrol vessel "INS Tarmugli" in 2005. It also has Maritime and Naval advisors in this strategic island country.
Indian Navy is actively engaged in patrolling the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone against Somali pirate activities.
Some agreement is expected to be signed during the visit of Patil, the second Presidential visit in 22 years, but she did not respond to a question on the issue from reporters accompanying her.
An Indian Naval Dornier aircraft is currently stationed here to assist Seychelles in the anti-piracy operations. Most of the senior officers in the Seychelles People's Defence Forces (SPDG) and Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) have attended various courses in Indian Defence establishments.
Patil will hold discussions tomorrow with her Seychelles counterpart James Alex Michel. She is also scheduled to address a Special session of the National Assembly.
The Republic of Seychelles is an African country located in the mid-western part of the Indian Ocean. With a population of just 90,000 plus, it is a group of 116 islands of which about 15 are inhabited.
With blue sea and vast beaches, tourism is a big business here and its important exports are canned tuna, frozen fish and cinnamon bark. PTI