Seychelles President Danny Faure said on Tuesday that his country will remain a “faithful friend and partner” to India, PTI reported. India handed over a Dornier aircraft to the island nation on Monday to boost its ability to conduct maritime surveillance.

Faure said defence cooperation is a major component of relations between the two countries, and called the aircraft a “proud testimony of India’s devotion and commitment” towards the people of Seychelles.

The Seychelles president’s statement comes a day after he and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to work together on the Assumption Island project, a plan under which New Delhi will install a military base in the country. They also signed six agreements.

The Seychelles government had called off the $550 million (Rs 3,760 crore) joint project with India days before Faure’s visit. On June 4, Faure had said that he will not discuss the military base project with Modi.

“On behalf of people of Seychelles, I would like to say thank you. The Dornier will amplify our capacity to conduct maritime surveillance over the Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.7 million square km,” Faure said on Tuesday at an event organised to officially hand over the aircraft.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her deputy VK Singh also attended the event. “Securing our seas will ultimately lead to creating a peaceful environment for the progress and prosperity of our two countries and peoples,” Swaraj said.

The aircraft will now fly to Bengaluru, then to Thiruvananthapuram. It will make a short stop at Gan Island in Maldives, and reach Seychelles by June 29, the country’s national day.