The President of India, H.E. SMT Pratibha Devisingh Patil paid a neighborly Two (2) day visit to the Seychelles recently on her way to South Africa, another Indian Ocean Rim country. President Patil arrived in a private Boeing 747, with her team investors, her Minister of Communications and Technology and Information Mr. Sachin Pilot, and top defense ministry officials.
Mr Sachin Pilot declared on the visit, speaking as India’s spokesman: “ I can assure you, India will do her part to make sure, we go forward, as equal partners. We share the same ocean (Indian Ocean), though we are different in size and scale….we can work together.”
Everyone Uses Piracy As The Excuse
India has been carefully executing its foreign policy in the Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) in past months, in the wake of the People’s Republic of China, interest in establishing and building up a military base in the Indian Ocean.
As Communist China and Communist Seychelles government have played their cards close to their chest on the military base build up ongoing, India the lead country in the region, and the United States a lone super power in the region, have been out flanking and containing the expansion of communism into the Indian Ocean Rim with delicate diplomatic precision, to head off a possible confrontation with the PRC.
Indian Dornier Surveillance Plane Base and US Drones Base
On the heels of an appeal to India and the United States for assistance in the fight against piracy Two (2) years ago by Mr. Michel, India offered to set up a Dornier Surveillance single plane base in Seychelles. Along with it came about 40 military men to train Seychellois in mechanical ins and outs of the plane, with the eventuality that India will donate One (1) plane to assist in the fight against piracy.
The USA for its part, set up a drone base manned by 75 men, mostly young fresh faces, that lived at Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Hotel for some years. The Defense budget pumped money into that fledging hotel that has seen better days and is due for a full demolition and rebuild. With the Dorniers in place, the men on the ground, and the USA Drone team hanging around Victoria, the India- USA partnership has kept a keen eye on Victoria. A PRC base build up will likely be taking place on an outer island, and not in Mahe, Victoria. It will be out of the piracy zone as well. This may explain the departure of the US Drones recently.
India Defence Minister Mr. Shri AK Antony Speaks Out
To get a little insight into the visit of the little lady that carries a heavy punch, one only has to refer to statements made by India Defence Minister Mr. Shri AK Antony on February 27, 2012 at the Annual National Maritime Foundation Conference, wherein he called for global efforts to uproot the threat of piracy through the United Nations. In this statement, the Defence Minister, underscored “…that 85% of all ships escorted in the region by Indian Navy are foreign ships. While pirates can be neutralized at seas, the real solution lies in addressing the root causes… on land.” This opinion was restated by James Michel on a number of occasions, including the Conference on Piracy in the UK, hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron. Piracy has since dropped by 50% in the region.
The Minister of Defence voiced concern at the military presence of world’s major powers in the IOR despite the waters being very far from their home. The net outcome is a constant turbulence of these intense diplomatic activity and substantial military investments by the major powers. It is against this insightful background that we must assess President Patil’s Two (2) day visit to Seychelles.
PRC Military Expansion Underway
The PRC military budget this year exceeds $100 Billion. Yet, it is not at war.
On December 2, 2011, the Chinese Minister For National Defence General Liang Guanglie accompanied with a high level military delegation, visited State House, and President James Michel openly on SBC invited the PRC to set up a military base in Seychelles. There has been no retraction of this invitation until today, and we understand, initial site clearing is underway.
For its part, the PRC has been the single country most responsible, for inhibiting the progress and evolution of democracy in Seychelles. PRC has financed Seychelles Communist government each year over $ 15 Million in aid, subsidies, without any democratic bench marks or human rights benchmarks. Guns and ammunition are supplied to the government, without restriction of use on civilians. Military personnel are trained in PRC as well. On occasion reports have surfaced that campaign materials for the Seychelles Communist party are sourced by the PRC Embassy in Seychelles. The past Ambassadors have not denied this in private.
Recently, James Michel has translated a book into Mandarin, professing a life of being a successful communist revolutionary in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) .
As Air Seychelles was taken to the butcher block at the turn of the year, the Michel Administration abandoned flights inbound from Heathrow, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Frankfurt, Milan, all our key markets, and opted and promised to create new direct links to Beijing. Under what business plan has this suggestion been made?
While all this diplomatic dancing is underway at State House, PRC General Liang Guanglie will be visiting Washington D.C this coming week. He will meet with US President Obama and they will discuss the issues on the table which include the re-militarization of the Philippine Sea by USA as a front line against PRC expansionism, growing tensions in the Pacific Ocean, and of course, the PRC quest for a military base in the Indian Ocean- Seychelles, as evidenced by General Guanglie’s visit to Seychelles last December 2011.
Place Your Bets!
India has pledged $25 Million to the Government of Seychelles and another $50 Million in soft loans. Total: $75 Million. This is all good and well. But India, must not dosh out money to a communist state without clear democratic reform benchmarks, and respect for human rights being met by the Government of Seychelles. Such benchmarks will go hand in hand with insuring that the IOR is safe, peaceful, and prosperous for all its players.
India is a reputed great democracy and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, it is privy to the Seychelles Communist shady record on delivering democracy to her people. At this hour, India, can have a profound impact on securing democracy in Seychelles, or it can play a crux role in embellishing communist expansionism in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), in spite of all the best intentions of trying to curtail such a failing ideology that enchains the human spirit, curtails its energy and reduces humans to beggars, without dignity.
The call rests on President Patil, and she who will fill her shoes.
It is noteworthy that President Patil was not aware that she gave a key address to a one party state National Assembly, which she thought was a democratically elected parliament.
We will watch carefully…..we hope India does as well. Seychelles is not the Maldives.
Sesel Pou Seselwa!
May God Bless All Freedom Loving Seychellois and Our Beloved Seychelles!