【New Delhi】India is losing ground in Seychelles. Two months after India and the Seychelles signed a revised agreement for the building of military infrastructure on Assumption Island, the Seychelles opposition has refused to allow it to be ratified by their parliament.
In his first press conference on March 25, Seychelles president Danny Faure acknowledged the opposition to the agreement and announced he would not present it to the national assembly in April as planned. He said that he had been told by the leader of the opposition, Wavel John Charles Ramkalawan and ruling party members that they would not allow the agreement to go through "in its present form". Faure was in India recently to participate in the inaugural summit of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
"It is therefore not proper for me to send the agreement to the Speaker when the Leader of the Opposition, who is in majority in the Assembly, has signalled he will not ratify it," Faure was quoted as saying. Faure refuted the perception of the agreement creating a military base for India on Assumption, saying it was actually a "Seychelles Coast Guard facility." There has been public protests against India in Seychelles for the past couple of months raising fears that India would appropriate the island .
Ramkalawan was quoted by news agencies as saying, "I hope I have made it clear that this is the end of the Assumption agreement and that I don't expect to see it on any agenda between President Faure and the opposition."
In early March, an online leaked version of the agreement created a furore in the Indian Ocean island nation, leading to an official investigation.
Interestingly, India had invited the Indian-origin opposition leader Ramkalawan to India to build political ties with his party. Those conversations had been important in building the consensus to clear the revised agreement. But Ramkalawan this week refused to let the pact go through.
India will have to work harder to win support for the plan, particularly as China too is finding its feet in this country, with deeper pockets.
○Oli seeks farm expertise for Nepal
【Pantnagar】Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli on April 8 sought the research expertise of G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in Uttarakhand to revolutionise agriculture in his country.
“Looking at what the Pantnagar University has done in the field of modernising agriculture in India, I think if the university and Nepal collaborate in the sector, agriculture in our country will get revolutionised through a technological boost,” Mr. Oli said at a special convocation of the university. Two agricultural universities have been set up in Nepal, but expertise of the research faculties of Pantnagar University and the Government of India would be needed to strengthen these institutions, which were at a preliminary stage, Mr. Oli said.
Making a strong pitch for better connectivity between Nepal and Uttarakhand, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said he wanted direct flights operations between Kathmandu and Dehradun.
Seychelles opposition blocks military deal with India
Oli seeks farm expertise for Nepal
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