NEW DELHI: India today played down reports of its security pact with Seychelles becoming public, and asserted that the Assumption Island venture is a "joint project" aimed at assisting the Indian Ocean country in securing a vast exclusive economic zone.
Indian officials did not confirm or deny that there was a leak of the security pact inked during the visit of former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar there.
"Let me clarify, Assumption Island Project in Seychelles is a joint project that India is executing at the request of the Government of Seychelles," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
"The objective is to assist Seychelles secure the vast EEZ, including near Mozambique Channel, located over a thousand kilometres from the main island of Mahe. The proposed facility will be owned by Seychelles and jointly managed by both sides," he said.
According to media reports, the details of the security pact were suspected to have been leaked this week from Seychelles.
However, Seychelles President Danny Faure on Tuesday recommended that Parliament ratify the agreement with India to develop military facilities in the strategically-located Assumption Island in the western Indian Ocean by next month.
He asserted that the land has not been leased or sold to the Indian government, amidst protests in the country over the pact.