Indian Navy has carried out hydrographic surveys of many island nations in the Indian Ocean region and will continue to do so, its chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said on Wednesday. His comments came in the backdrop of a revised agreement between India and the Seychelles for the development of infrastructure facilities on Assomption Island, which lies southwest of Mahe, the largest island of that country. “We have carried out hydrographic surveys for (a) number of island nations in the Indian Ocean region, and we will continue to do that,” Lanba told reporters after the launch of Karanj, the third state-of-the-art Scorpene-class submarine here.
The two countries had signed an agreement to develop infrastructure on Assomption Island during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Seychelles in 2015. “We are not going to acquire Assomption Island, but (the Indian) government is going to make some facilities there,” he said. On Sri Lanka formally handing over the strategic southern port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year-lease, in a a USD 1.1 billion deal, the Navy chief said, “Hambantota is a commercial harbour and Sri Lankans have assured us that it will be used as commercial harbour only.” Last year, the Indian Navy had carried out a joint hydrographic survey of Sri Lanka’s Weligama Bay and southern coast, in a reflection of the growing cooperation between navies of the two countries. Hydrographic survey data for more than 7,000 nautical miles was collected during a two-month-long exercise.