Victoria: President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday left for South Africa on the second leg of her nine day tour after concluding her "landmark" visit to Seychelles which hailed India's support in tackling piracy and thanked New Delhi for extending a USD 75 million financial package for it.

Seychelles President James Michel, who hosted a Cocktail Dinatoire in Patil's honour last evening, said that whether it be in terms of defending the peace and security of "our ocean against pirates, or in strengthening our ability to empower the economic potential of our respective peoples, Seychelles and India have shown we can act together decisively".

"We thank India for her support in patrolling our waters, in assisting in air surveillance and not least, the positioning of an advanced radar system to ensure that our ocean becomes once again a space for development, and not a highway of anarchy," he said.

Asserting that India and Seychelles stand firm in the face of the "scourge" of piracy, he said: "We all know that this ocean is vast - and pirates have used this size as their weapon. But we know that our partnership and friendship are enduring and can provide the determination to overcome such challenges."

Describing the visit of Patil, the second Presidential tour in 22 years as "landmark", he said in these times of uncertainty, India's robust performance in the global economy has been further underlined.

"We are convinced more and more, that when India shines, its glow reflects upon our whole region.

"I am optimistic that in the near future, cooperation in such fields like trade, investment, tourism and transportation links will also be enhanced. As Seychelles is on the cusp of finding oil, and as India continues to expand the production of renewable energy technology, I am also confident of a new energy partnership between our two countries," Michel said.
   
A highlight of the two-day visit was the honour given to President Patil by Seychelles to address the National Assembly yesterday. She is the first leader of any country to have given such an honour.

India is the world's largest democracy and this island republic having a population of 90,000 plus the smallest.

Noting that India would like to increase cooperation between the two Parliament, President said that India being the first country to be asked the National Assembly was a "great honour for me".

India also announced a USD 75 million financial package for Seychelles and signed two MoUs including one for training the Police personnel in the strategically located archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

India would extend USD 50 million Line of Credit and a grant of USD 25 million to this island republic.

The two MoUs includes one on police research under which police personnel of the island republic will receive training from India’s Bureau of Police Research and Development.  The second MoUs was in cooperation in youth and sports affairs to facilitate greater people to people contact.

(Agencies)