In a potentially major security breach, texts, maps and videos detailing what is believed to be agreements stitched between India and Seychelles have emerged on the internet. Apart from text details, a Youtube video, maps and locations of facilities proposed as part of the deal have also emerged online, The Indian Express reported today. The development has set off alarm bells over the nature of the leak that could have happened at Seychelles.
There has been no statement by the government on the development so far, but the development comes close on the heels of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar’s visit to Seychelles in January this year to ink a crucial security deal. Earlier in 2015, agreements were signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the India Ocean island. The 2018 agreements are said to be much more detailed than that of 2015.
It has been learnt that the alleged leaks appear to have taken place from Seychelles. Meanwhile, Seychelles President Danny Faure said that Assumption belongs to Seychelles and Seychellois and asserted that Land on Assumption has not been sold or leased to the Government of India, according to the IE report. Notably, India looks to build infrastructure on Assumption to counter China in the region.
According to reports, the agreement took place in 2015 was a very basic agreement. However, a lot of negotiations were done after that and Seychelles had expressed concerns. These things were accommodated in the 2018 agreements. The new pact also addresses minute details and intricacies. In 2015, Indian envoy monitored the joint project monitoring committee. As per 2018 agreement, the joint project monitoring committee would be monitored by the Indian envoy and the Seychelles Foreign Secretary.
After the agreement in January, High Commission of India in Seychelles said Foreign Secretary of India Jaishankar and Secretary of State of Seychelles Faure signed the Agreement between India and Seychelles for the Development, Management, Operation and Maintenance of Facilities on Assumption Island at the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Victoria, India in Seychelles. The process of ratification will ensue. 2018 will see a real acceleration in our cooperation programme, it had said.