File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Seychelles President James Alix Michel, who is paying a three-day visit to India from today, will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi - five months after the two met during the latter's visit to the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Mr Michel, who is to meet Mr Modi tomorrow, will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan and Minister of Finance, Trade and Blue Economy Jean-Paul Adam. A business delegation will also accompany the president.
Mr Modi had visited Seychelles in March 2015, his first destination in the Indian Ocean region after assuming office. President Michel had earlier paid state visits to India in 2005 and 2010, apart from participating in the Delhi Sustainable Development Summits in 2011 and 2012.
Mr Michel is to deliver an address on 'Maritime Security for Blue Economy' at the Indian Council for World Affairs in New Delhi, besides addressing a business event. He will also visit Mumbai where he will meet the governor of Maharashtra and attend an event organised by Seychelles Tourism Board.
After holding talks with Mr Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will call on the Seychelles president. He will then call on President Pranab Mukherjee.
A number of agreements are expected to be inked.
"India and Seychelles have close and friendly relations. As maritime neighbours, our partnership is anchored in the need for peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region. Development partnership, especially in the areas of capacity building and human resource development forms an important part of our engagement. The presence of a strong Indian community in Seychelles, comprising about 11 per cent of the total population, is another significant link between our two countries," said an official statement.
Last week, the Cabinet approved the signing and ratification of a tax information exchange agreement with the Seychelles.
The agreement is to facilitate exchange of financial information between the two countries and aid in curbing tax evasion and tax avoidance, the government said.
As per the terms of the agreement, authorities of the two countries will be able to exchange information relevant to the administration and enforcement of their tax laws. It also provides for a mutual agreement framework for resolving differences or for agreeing on procedures under the agreement.
Mr Modi's visit in March was the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister since 1981 to Seychelles, located 3,800 km away.
The Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean has a population of 90,000.
According to recent figures, there are about 8,200 Indian nationals living and working in the Seychelles. They are mainly working in the field of construction.
Seychelles has one of the largest maritime exclusive zones in the world off the east coast of the African continent, and it is also the main transit for Indian merchant ships.
India established diplomatic relations with the Seychelles after its independence in 1976.