India-Seychelles pact to curb black money

Agreements to be signed on agricultural research, space cooperation.

i: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President of the Republic of Seychelles, James Alix Michel before their meeting at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Wednesday.

India inked a taxation agreement with the Seychelles on Wednesday for allowing exchange of information to curb tax evasion and avoidance and is looking at strengthening maritime security ties and cooperation on blue economy with the island nation.

After holding talks with the visiting Seychelles President James Alix Michel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the archipelago as a key strategic partner of India, and said agreements in sectors such as agricultural research and space were being signed to deepen engagement.

As the Seychelles is considered one of the preferred offshore havens for routing of funds, the Union Cabinet recently approved the signing and ratification of the taxation pact with the island nation to unearth black money.

On maritime security, Mr. Modi said the two countries had excellent security cooperation in the Indian Ocean region, and India was a partner in providing aircraft, naval vessels and coastal radar systems for strengthening surveillance capacities. “Our cooperation in hydrography surveys is extensive and growing,” the Prime Minister said adding that India would gift one more interceptor Coast Guard boat to the Seychelles.

An air services agreement signed here is expected to enable more and easier connections between the two countries, while cooperation in space, including in the areas of managing land and marine resources, fisheries advisory, weather forecasting and disaster management, is being explored.

In March, the Prime Minister announced India would gift a second Dornier aircraft to the Seychelles. An agreement for the same was signed on Wednesday.

The bilateral agreement for cooperation on blue economy, the Prime Minister said, was a huge step forward in promoting sustainable ocean economy in the region. India, which recently reached out to Pacific Island nations to collaborate with them for combating the challenge of climate change, ahead of the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris later this year, is looking at partnering with the Seychelles on the issue.

Source: The Hindu

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