PM to launch vessel for the Seychelles
#GS2 #IR #INDIA AND ITS NEIGHBOURS
- Seychelles Coast Guard would be receiving a fast patrol vessel by our Prime minister.
- The handing over will be part of high-level virtual interaction between the Indian leader and the President of the Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan.
- This is the first interaction between the two leaders since Ramkalawan won the October 2020 election in the Seychelles.
- The African archipelago nation has been a steady part of India’s policy for the Indian Ocean region and PM visited the country in 2015. India gifted similar vessels to the Seychelles in 2005, 2014 and 2016.
- During the event, the leaders will inaugurate a 1 MW solar power plant, and the Magistrates’ Court building project in Mahe, the largest island in the archipelago.
- The Magistrates’ Court will help the Seychelles in centralising the legal and administrative processes that are spread over different regions of the nation.
Indian Ocean Islands Diplomacy
- Due to the ongoing pandemic, the island countries-Mauritius and Seychelles, have been adversely affected due to a huge decline in tourism, for the countries’ economy mainly depends upon tourism.
- Both the island nations are a part of India’s maritime security and therefore need to be pursued diplomatically.
- China’s active engagement in the Indian Ocean could be a possible threat to our relations with the island states and could compromise the country's maritime security as well.
India’s Efforts in Helping and Aiding Friends
- India has supplied nearly 85 million hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets and close to 500 million paracetamol tablets to 108 countries.
- The HCQ tablets were sent as gifts to Mauritius and Seychelles on special Indian Air Force planes.
- India had deployed the navy’s 5,600-tonne landing ship, INS Kesari, to reach medical teams, medicines and supplies to countries in the Indian Ocean region such as Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles.
- The two medical assistance teams on board the warship will be deployed in Mauritius and Comoros.
Strategic Significance of the Island Countries
- The strategic importance of these island nations is highlighted by their location along key sea lines of communication (SLOCs).
- These islands are vital and can facilitate a navy’s continuous presence along key international shipping routes, allowing a navy to patrol and secure SLOCs during peace times and an option to interdict and cut off an adversary’s communications during times of conflict.
China’s Dominance in the Indian Ocean
- China's rapidly growing presence in the northern part of the Indian Ocean along with the deployment of Chinese submarines and ships in the region is a challenge for India.
- The country has invested the largest amount in shipbuilding than any other nation.
- China has maritime disputes in the East China Sea with Japan and stakes claim on 90 per cent of the South China Sea.
- Moreover, China has pushed to develop infrastructure projects in island countries such as Sri Lanka under its belt and road initiative.
India and Vaccine Diplomacy
- India has displayed empathy to poor countries’ needs.
- India has taken the position that a significant percentage of the approved doses are permitted for exports.
- While its exports to neighbouring counties are under grant mode, initial shipment of vaccines to least developed countries are free of cost.
- India is in its first phase of vaccination to cover health-care workers, exports from India are helping other countries also in initiating phase one of their vaccination programme.
- India’s approach only reinforces the need of having coordinated global efforts in bringing COVID-19 under control.
- This has consolidated India’s name as the world’s pharmacy.
- It has further enhanced the Soft Power of India and generated goodwill among these developing & least developed countries.
- This helps dispel the perception amongst neighbourhood that India is hegemonic and a “Big Brother”. Instead, it shows that India is a “Responsible Power”.
- Consignments of coronavirus vaccine doses were supplies as gifts to Bangladesh (20 lakh), Myanmar (17 lakh), Nepal (10 lakh), Bhutan (1.5 lakh), the Maldives (1 lakh), Mauritius (1 lakh), Seychelles (50,000), Sri Lanka (5 lakh), Bahrain (1 lakh), Oman (1 lakh), Afghanistan (5 Lakhs), Barbados (1 Lakh) and Dominica (70,000).
- Countries that received vaccines on a commercial basis are Brazil (20 lakh), Morocco (60 lakh), Bangladesh (50 lakh), Myanmar (20 lakh), Egypt (50,000), Algeria (50,000), South Africa (10 lakh), Kuwait (2 lakh) and UAE (2 lakh).
SOURCE: THE HINDU