Navy’s P-8I aircraft on surveillance mission in Seychelles
New Delhi, March 21: The Indian Navy said on Monday that it had deployed a P-8I long-range, maritime reconnaissance aircraft to Seychelles.
The state-of-the-art aircraft is on naval duty since Sunday (March 20) undertaking surveillance missions in the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) of Seychelles.
Indian Navy says the mission is in line with the Memorandum of Understanding between India and Seychelles.
"This is the first time that the P-8I aircraft has been deployed to Seychelles," confirms a Navy spokesperson.
In the past, the Indian Navy had undertaken surveillance missions in the Seychellois EEZ (twice a year) through deploying its ships.
"The last such deployment was undertaken by ships of the 1st Training Squadron of the Indian Navy, in October 2015," says the spokesperson.
Navy says the P-8I will be deployed till March 23 undertaking surveillance missions of the Seychellois EEZ as mandated by the MoU.
"In addition, the deployment will facilitate professional interaction between the aircrew and the Seychelles People's Defence Force (SPDF)," the spokesperson added.
Navy says the deployment of P-8I is an indicator to India's commitment towards ensuring the security of Seychellois EEZ.
It also aims to help curb illegal activities and piracy in addition to ensuring the stability in the Indian Ocean Region.
The Indian Navy had added more power to its air wing when the first squadron of P-8I was dedicated to the nation in Arakkonam (Tamil Nadu) by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar last year.
The aircraft has provided the Indian Navy with the necessary reach and flexibility to undertake extensive surveillance. It has also given the Indian Navy the ability to respond swiftly and effectively to contingencies in the region. The Navy operates eight such platforms.