Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles talks to the press in India after receiving the Mahatma Gandhi Honour Award and receiving the invitation to be the Chief Guest at the Golden Triangle in India in January

The Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, Mr Alain St.Ange was this week honoured by India when he was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Honour Award for his tireless effort in strengthening Indo-Seychelles relations. It was at a ceremony at the Hotel Le Meridien at Connaught Place in New Delhi that Dr Shakeel-Uz-Zaman Ansari from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment of the Government of India, Mr Dalbir Singh, the National Secretary of the All India Congress Committee, Dr Bhishma Narain Singh, Mr Gurinder Singh and Mr Deepak Singh who jointly presented Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture with the Mahatma Gandhi Samman Award.

It was at this Award Ceremony that Mr Gurinder Singh, a Member of the Press Council of India had said that the Indo-Seychelles relations had been characterised by close friendship, understanding and cooperation. Mr Gurinder Singh had retraced the Diplomatic ties that were established with Seychelles after its Independence in 1976. Seychelles and India held high level exchanges from both sides since Seychelles achieved its Independence. President France Albert Rene has visited India several times. President James Alix Michel paid his State visit to India in February 2012 and again in February 2012. Former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi, President Shri R. Venkataraman, Vice-President Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, Vice-President Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Shri S.M. Krishna, Defence Minister Shri A.K. Antony have all visited Seychelles on goodwill mission. India has an important link with Seychelles in the form of Indian nationals who have been among the earliest inhabitants of this island. It was at this same Award Giving Ceremony that Mr Guriner Singh also said “On this occasion I also take the opportunity to invite the Honourable Minister for our Golden Triangle event to be held in January and we invite hime to be our Chief Guest of 2015” as he invited the Seychelles Minister St.Ange back to India in January 2015.

H.E. Waven William, the Seychelles High Commissioner accredited to India, Sherin Naiken, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Benjamine Rose, the PS for Culture at the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Mr Thanglura Darlong, the Joint Secretary for Parliament and Coordination at the Ministry of External Affairs of India who was also previously the Indian Ambassador accredited to Seychelles when the islands held its first edition of the Seychelles-India Day Celebrations, Mr Pravin Darad from the Indian Association of Seychelles were all present to witness the Mahatma Gandhi Honour Award being presented the Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles.

The Seychelles Minister, Mr Alain St.Ange said that occasion when he took to the podium to address the ceremony after having received the Mahatma Gandhi Honour Award that he was honoured by the gesture which he accepted on behalf of his Team at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and also on behalf of the Team at the Seychelles Tourism Board. “Today you have shown that when we work hard, our work is recognised well beyond our own borders” Minister St.Ange said.

Speaking to the Press after the Award Presentation Ceremony the Seychelles Minister said that Seychelles and India has always had good friendly relations and that this award bestowed to him was only a another way by India to recognise the unique ties that exists today, but that has also existed ever since the first migrants from India took the the seas to make Seychelles their home. “Last year our Government maven to complete the recognition of all the five historical branches that make the Creole People of Seychelles what they are today. Through the La Francophonie Celebrations we have been marking our French links, through our Africa Day Celebrations we have been celebrating our links to Africa, through the Commonwealth Day Celebrations we have been marking our links to the United Kingdom and now from 2013 we have the Seychelles-India Day Celebrations to mark our country’s links with India and since January this year through the Seychelles-China Day Celebrations we are marking our links with China. We are the people we are because we have a very rich history, and because of this history our people are today an example to the world because our history has taught us to live side by side with everyone immaterial of the colour of the skin, immaterial of religious beliefs and  also immaterial of political affiliation. Today we have become the Melting Pot of Cultures and continue to invite Countries from the Community of Nations to join us annually in the Carnaval International de Victoria to showcase their own respective culture and in so doing to place their people or talent in the limelight. This working visit has again given me the possibility to impress on India through my meetings with the Indian Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture for the need for India to fly its flag proudly in this annual cultural manifestation” Minister St.Ange said.

“I am humbled as much as I am honoured to receive the award named after the founding father of India. Thank you India” Alain St.Ange said.