Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a virtual meeting with Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan on Thursday and also inaugurate India-led projects in the country, including a new Magistrates Court building, new naval ship, 1MW solar power plant and 10 high-impact community development projects.

This will be the first virtual interaction between the two leaders after President Ramkalawan came to power in October 2020 elections in Seychelles. 

During the Prime Minister's tour of Indian Ocean countries in 2015, Seychelles was the first destination after which he also visited Mauritius and Sri Lanka. That was the first prime ministerial-level visit to Seychelles after a gap of 33 years. 

It was during that tour of the Indian Ocean countries when Prime Minister Modi pronounced India's vision of SAGAR -- Security and Growth for All in the Region.

In November 2020, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was the first foreign minister to visit Seychelles after newly-elected President Ramkalawan assumed office.
President Ramkalawan is of Indian origin. He has his ancestral roots in the Gopalganj district of Bihar. He visited India in January 2018 as part of the PIO Parliamentarian's Conference and also visited his native village 'Parsauni'.
Currently, there are three ministers of Indian origin in his cabinet -- Devika Vidot, Billy Rangasamy and Naadir Hassan.

Magistrates' Court Building project

The Magistrates’ Court Building project is a landmark project and will help bring Magistrate courts spread over different locations in Mahe island into a single building. 

It is situated next to the Supreme Court of Seychelles built with Chinese assistance in 2013. 

The new building houses eight courtrooms spread over three floors; waiting areas for the people and parking space for court users, police vans and magistrates; separated holding cells for men, women and child accused; multi-functional conference rooms, meeting rooms and video rooms.
Naval ship

Built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineering Limited at the cost of Rs 100 crore, the 48.9 m Fast Patrol Vessel will be used for multi-purpose operations such as patrolling, anti-smuggling, anti-poaching, and search and rescue. 

The FPV has already been delivered to Seychelles with the assistance of the Indian Navy on March 16, 2021, and will be handed over by Prime Minister Modi to the Seychelles Coast Guard during the virtual event. 

Christened as 'PS Zoroaster', the FPV is the fourth ship to be gifted by India to Seychelles. The other vessels gifted by India include  PS Topaz (2005), PS Constant (2014), Patrol Boat Hermes (2016). 

Over 50 per cent of Seychelles’ maritime and air assets and around 70 per cent of capacity development in terms of training, exercise and human resource expertise are provided by India. 

HICDP projects

The HICDP projects are aimed at implementing small, people-oriented projects which contribute significantly towards the socio-economic development and improvement of local communities. A total of 29 projects have so far been taken up for execution under this MoU. 

Solar Power plant

The 1 MW solar project is in addition to the installation of solar power systems at 146 government building rooftops and domestic households which has already been completed and commissioned.

The 1 MW solar plant project will generate around 14 lakh units of power annually meeting the electricity consumption of around 400 Seychellois houses all around the year. 

The plant is also expected to save an annual consumption of 3,25,000 Ltrs of fuel for the Public Utilities Corporation of Seychelles resulting in overall savings of around SCR 3.5 Million (approx USD 2.25 lakh) per year to PUC.

Covid Vaccines

Seychelles has also been one of the first beneficiaries of India's Covid assistance. 

Seychelles received over 4 tonnes of life-saving medicines, including 50,000 tablets of HCQ under Mission 'SAGAR' in May 2020.  

Seychelles was the first African country to have received 50,000 doses of Covishield vaccine doses from India on January 22, 2021, under India's Vaccine Maitri initiative.