Why is the Indian Military Base in Seychelles facing trouble? In an effort to expand India’s Naval presence, the country planned to set up an Indian Military Base in Seychelles. Unfortunately, the political opposition of the Indian Ocean island has blocked the plans and rattled the Indian military base expansion plan. The Naval base in Seychelles included military facilities, an airstrip and a jetty, as stated in the 20- year agreement signed by the two countries early this year.
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The deal for an Indian military base in Seychelles was declared as ‘dead’ by the Island’s opposition party. The leader of the opposition also clearly stated that this was the end of the ‘assumption agreement’ and no further discussions on India’s military base were on the agenda.
Indian Military Base in Seychelles Would Be of Strategic Importance
An Indian military base in Seychelles was an important step, not just towards the expansion, but also as a strategic move. The island, in fact, has been drawing the attention of China and other big Asian economies too.
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India-China have been making efforts to garner power and influence across Asia and this step towards setting up India’s military base in Seychelles would have given the country a strong lead. In a similar strategic move, China set up a military base in Djibouti, an influential point for worldwide shipping.
Why are People Protesting Against the Indian Military Base in Seychelles?
The first announcement of an Indian military base in Seychelles was made after PM Modi’s visit to the islands in 2015. As reported by an Indian expert on defence strategies, this would allow India a higher power to ensure that no unethical activities or piracy were harbouring in this favourable economic zone.
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However, the plans for an Indian military base in Seychelles stirred up public protests by activists who believe that the islands must stay away from the brewing India-China regional conflict. An activist stated: Seychelles, a small island, ‘cannot afford to take sides’; especially against two nuclear superpowers. However, earlier this month the confidential details of the agreement between India and Seychelles were leaked on to social media channels and one point clearly stated that India agreed to a ‘no-nuclear weapons use’ and confirmed to not use the base in case of a war.