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Seychelles asks for India's help to battle piracy

New Delhi: The Indian Ocean archipelago nation Seychelles during the visit of its President James Michel will ask India for help in tackling the piracy issue in its waters, which has severely affected its fishing and tourism industry.
'No country has been as affected by piracy as we have,' Seychelles High Commissioner Dick Patrick Esparon told IANS here.
The increasing incidents of attacks by Somali pirates on commercial ships, cruise liners and private boats have severely disrupted the economy of the islands spread out on area of 1,374,000 square kilometres, with a population of just 84,000 people.
'Our fishermen cannot go out to the sea. Piracy is threatening our very way of life. It is a matter of survival,' he said.
Tuna fishing is one of the main employment generators in the islands, which has been disrupted with exports going down by 30 percent. A similar decline was also noted in the number of visits made by cruises and yachts to the Indian Ocean nation.
'Piracy is definitely one of the main issues that will be discussed (during President Michel's visit). India shares our concern, as the issue of piracy also affects India,' Esparon said.
President Michel will arrive in India today and hold formal discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday. He will return to Seychelles June 3. [01/06/10]


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