India’s naval base in Seychelles

  • A plot of land for India to build its first naval base in the Indian Ocean region has been allocated by the Seychelles government in the Assumption Island.

  • Its is a joint project between India and Seychelles involving the two Defence Forces in enhancing our mutual security along our western seaboard.
  • Apart from the naval base, India is set to acquire a fully operational coastal radar system (CRS) based in Seychelles from March 2016. The CRS will provide India with the ability to gather intelligence and assist in surveillance operations of the vital energy lanes near Seychelles.
  • Security operation in the Indian Ocean region will also be helped by the leadership role that Seychelles has secured for itself in the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), which will hold its first meeting in Mumbai on January 31, 2016.
  • A new patrol vessel from India will be handed over to Seychelles in mid-January 2016.

Significance

  • The naval base will help India exercise greater control over the Indian Ocean’s western region all the way to the piracy-prone eastern African coastline.
  • The base will be one of the major staging posts for a large maritime security network that India is setting up with the help of the various Indian Ocean region partner countries.
  • The project has acquired significance following China acquiring its first African naval base in Djibouti in November.
  • Both India and Seychelles have a vested interest in securitising the Western Indian Ocean. Both countries have forged a partnership that has gone a fair distance in eradicating the scourge of Somalia-based piracy as well as other maritime security issues.
  • India, with its strong intelligence network, will also be helpful in maritime law enforcement by Seychelles.
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