The Indian Navy has deployed a P 8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft to Seychelles on March 20, to conduct surveillance missions in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Seychelles, in accordance with the MoU between the Governments of India and Seychelles.
The Indian Navy has, in the past, undertaken surveillance missions in the Seychellois EEZ twice a year, by deploying IN ships.
The last such deployment was undertaken by ships of the 1st Training Squadron of the Indian Navy, in October 2015. This is the first time that the P8I aircraft has been deployed to Seychelles.
The aircraft will remain deployed till March 23. In addition, the deployment will facilitate professional interaction between the aircrew and the Seychelles People’s Defence Force (SPDF).
The Indian Navy said this deployment would assist in curbing illegal activities and piracy as well as contribute towards security and stability in the Indian Ocean region.
The P-8I aircraft is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft that Boeing developed as a replacement for the US Navy’s ageing P-3 fleet. Indian Navy became the first international customer for the P-8 aircraft with the conclusion of the nearly US $ 2.1 billion contract on Jan 1, 2009 for a total of eight aircraft.
Based at INS Rajali, the aircraft are operated by Indian Naval Air Squadron 312A under the command of Commander Venkateshwaran Ranganathan.