The Opposition coalition in Seychelles on Tuesday said it will not ratify a deal that will allow India to invest $550 million (approximately Rs 3,586 crore) in building a military base on one of the country’s islands, AFP reported.
The deal will help India ensure the safety of its vessels in the southern Indian ocean. Indian soldiers will be deployed on Assumption island and they will also help train the troops in Seychelles. “This deal is dead,” said the head of Opposition coalition Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (Seychelles Democratic Union in Creole), Wavel Ramkalawan. The coalition holds a majority in Parliament.
Former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had visited the island nation in January to sign the renegotiated agreement. The pact was first announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in 2015. The deal had then faced hurdles and Jaishankar had to make an unannounced visit to Seychelles in October 2017 to resolve the differences.
Earlier this month, copies of the classified agreement were leaked online, alleging that the Seychelles government had sold off Assumption island to India. “Assumption belongs to Seychelles and Seychellois,” the island nation’s President Danny Faure had said in Parliament. “Land on Assumption has not been sold or leased to the government of India.”