Seychelles President Danny Faure on Saturday said Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals were still relevant today and that his principle of non-violence must be taught to all children. Faure made the comments after arriving in Gujarat on Friday evening for a six-day visit to India.
“The principle of non-violence is what we need to teach the children of our world and what was expressed by Gandhi many years ago remains relevant even today – an eye for an eye will make the world blind,” the president of the island nation wrote in the visitors’ book at the Sabarmati Ashram, PTI reported.
“Faure showed a keen interest about the life and times of Gandhi,” Ashram Secretary Amrut Modi said. “He sought to know why Gandhiji chose Ahmedabad and what exactly did he do during his long stay here.”
Amrut Modi added: “He also wanted to know the details about the Dandi March, which was started from the ashram.” The president of the island nation tried his hand at the charkha, or the spinning wheel, the secretary said.
Faure later visited the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, where he met its Director Errol D’Souza. He also visited the Gujarat Forensic Science University in Gandhinagar, and interacted with 18 police officers from Seychelles, who are undergoing training at the university. He then met Gujarat Governor OP Kohli for lunch.
The Seychelles president is scheduled to visit Goa on Sunday. On Monday, Faure will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. He will then meet President Ram Nath Kovind and hold delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He will also address the India-Seychelles Business Forum.
Faure’s visit comes days after the government in Seychelles called off a $550 million (Rs 3,760 crore) joint project with India to develop a naval base at the archipelago nation’s Assumption Island. The pact with Seychelles was first announced during Narendra Modi’s visit to the archipelago nation in 2015. The deal faced hurdles and former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had to make an unannounced visit to Seychelles in October 2017 to resolve the differences. He visited the country again in January to sign the renegotiated agreement.
In March, copies of the classified agreement were leaked online, amid allegations that the Seychelles government had “sold off” Assumption Island to India. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Seychelles in May but was reportedly unable to revive the deal.
The deal would have helped India ensure the safety of its vessels in the southern Indian Ocean. Indian soldiers would also have been deployed on Assumption island.