How India averted a UK supported Coup in Seychelles!

India had taken an active security role in the Indian Ocean since the mid 1980s. In 1986, India's security role in Seychelles crystallised over a series of coup attempts against President René led by the Seychelles Minister of Defence, Ogilvy Berlouis. Many of the details of these coup attempts remain unclear, perhaps because more than one coup was apparently being organised at the time. According to some reports, the Berlouis plot, codenamed Operation Distant Lash, involved some 30 mercenaries and 350 Seychellois (although Indian sources believe this was an overestimate). Some claim that it had the support of South African intelligence and of prominent anti-communists in Washington. Berlouis had been invited to the Pentagon in 1985 and, according to one report some in the US security establishment saw Berlouis as a potential future president of the islands, recognising in him an ambitious man with no ideological baggage despite his tenure of a senior post of the René government. However, it seems that there was some ambivalence in the Reagan administration about any moves against René, fearing that Seychelles could be destabilised by the installation of a new leader. Since the 1981 attempted coup, René had mended fences with South Africa and the United States: he was increasingly viewed as someone who they could work with and in late 1985 had agreed to extend the US lease on the satellite tracking station.

Nevertheless, in early June 1986, Berlouis and his co-conspirators decided to move against René. When New Delhi was informed of an impending coup by either Indian or Soviet sources, Prime Minister Gandhi (who was also Minister of Defence) and the junior Defence Minister, Arun Singh, personally contacted the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral RH Tahiliani, with a verbal request to provide assistance to René. Coincidentally, the Indian Navy had already dispatched the INS Vindhyagiri under Captain S. Ramsagar on a scheduled visit to Seychelles to participate in Seychelles Independence Day celebrations. It was decided that on arrival Vindhyagiri would report an engineering defect requiring an extended stay in Port Victoria. The Director of Naval Intelligence and Director of Naval Operations then briefed a Commodore who was sent to the Seychelles on a commercial airline to command the operation and ostensibly take charge of repairing the ship. A local engineering company was also enlisted to make some minor repairs. An Indian Navy "engineering" team of 20 sailors trained in weapons was readied for dispatch to Port Victoria, although their presence was not ultimately required. The Indian Navy gave the operation the codename Flowers Are Blooming.

In the meantime, René repaired to the Presidential Palace under the protection of his 50-strong North Korean bodyguard while the INS Vindhyagiri remained at Port Victoria for 12 days, making great use of its Sea King to provide public displays of helicopter commando "slithering" and assaults. The ship regularly trained its 4.5 inch gun on power mode as a demonstration to the coup plotters. Also present in Port Victoria was a Soviet Turya class patrol boat, the Zoroaster, which was due to be handed over to the Seychelles. The Zoroaster's captain was junior in rank to the Vindhyagiri's captain. At one stage the Zoroaster left Port Victoria on patrol in response to a report that two Royal Naval vessels intended to enter the port in support of the planned coup. By mid June the planned coup had been averted. Seychellois authorities - with the likely assistance of Indian security services - arrested six men (but not Berlouis). Indian sources believe that the presence of an Indian naval vessel made a significant contribution to averting a coup. As a former Indian intelligence officer who was in the Seychelles during the period commented, the Indian naval presence "served the purpose."

Two months later Berlouis made another attempt to unseat President René which India again helped to quash. The plot was uncovered in late August while President René was attending a meeting of the Non Aligned Movement in Harare with Rajiv Gandhi and other leaders of non-aligned states. René may have been told of the planned coup by the South African security services whose strategy was cultivating all sides in Seychelles with a view to cementing its own influence. According to another report, René was personally informed about the plot by Rajiv Gandhi who had been tipped off by the Soviets. Gandhi lent René his own plane, Air India 001, to return to Seychelles early. According to one report on 6 September René, disguised as an Indian woman wearing a sari, was met at the airport by the Indian High Commissioner and taken to the Commissioner's residence. Berlouis and other plotters were then tracked to the island of Praslin. Berlouis and four other army officers were forced to resign and Berlouis left for London. The Indian ship INS Godavari, which was then returning to India from New York after taking part in centenary celebrations for the Statue of Liberty, was diverted to Port Victoria, although it only arrived on 24 September and departed several days after. It was reported that in October 1986, some 50 Soviet troops were landed by the Soviet amphibious vessel the Ivan Rogov, to provide additional security to René.

India's interventions cemented India's role in the Seychelles. In 1989, India established the Seychelles Defence Academy and continues to play an important role in Seychelles' security. Although India lost some of its assertiveness in the region in the wake of the Sri Lankan debacle, since the turn of the century it has been actively re-establishing its security role in the Indian Ocean. Today, India has close security relationships with many states in the southwest Indian Ocean, including Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and Mozambique, which form an important part of India's broader strategy in the Indian Ocean.

Conclusion

Operation Flowers Are Blooming was the first demonstration of the Indian Navy's capability to influence political events throughout the Indian Ocean, far from the navy's traditional area of operations in South Asia. It showed that the navy could be used to project power effectively, at long distance, and with relative discretion. Naval diplomacy by the Indian Navy has been used to great effect in recent years. The success of the Seychelles operation may also have given the Rajiv Gandhi government confidence that it could execute low cost military interventions in its Indian Ocean neighbours, including its decision to intervene in Sri Lanka in July 1987 and it successful intervention in the Maldives in November 1988. That the Sri Lanka intervention was ultimately disastrous for the Indian Army, Rajiv Gandhi, and of course Sri Lanka, is a reminder of the risks involved in such actions.

Comments

  1. Is that a good enough reason to prefer the Chinese over the Indians?

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    1. PL government is known as Freedom killer, now they are known as environment killer! What next baby killer? Ooops that is already known as well as old age pension killer. Ummmmmm what’s next? When will they stop? And who has the balls to stop them?

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  2. GOOD article!

    As to Ogilvy berlouis,it is difficult to imagine that he would have been better than FAR,knowing the kinds of persons who were supposedly invovled in the coup attempt.Morevoer,thathe want to the USA as Minister of defence of a Communist state,would have raised the eyebrows of any thugtocrats for during the cold war ,this is not noraml practices.Morevoer,it is strange amaybe becuase of lack of experience that Berlouis attempted his Coup each Time FAR was abroad though he had persons who was well-palced to aprrenhend FAR without a shot.For instance,the ex-bodyguard of FAR was invovled and could have easily aprrenhend FAR.In a way Berliopus should suceeded would have been a greater tyraant than FAR and the situation of the cold war feel would have automatically made him another tyrannt.

    Should PP be toppled?YES,for it is a system which is an unconstitutional and illegitimate governemnt.Seychellois are ruled by usurpers who claim that the executive branhc is above the law and that Seychelles constituion is a mere"scrap of papers""eychellois have suffred a coup deata.The PP regime lacks therefore Constituional and legal legitimacy.

    An unconstituional governemnt is thus an illegitimate ogvernemnt.The aoth of allegiance requires defense of the constituion.The worst thing about Seychelles is that is a nation that has so much potential but a rogue regime impede ius progreess,enslave its people and rape democratic principles that could not be accepted anymore.

    In democracy the people get the govenremnt they deserved,and Seychellois wanted a democratic governemnt when they took independece in 1976 but unfortunately a gang of thugs raped their wioll.

    Pp has two chioces--either to restore democracy or face this time a coup that not indain,or any other ofreign country would be able to detect.WHy?it is not organized by super power and all is organized locally to minimise risks of inflitration etc...Moreover,in the 21st cnetury there is no need to take control of strategic positions but simply radicate all members of the system at one go,amking it impossible for thugs to order military to butchered their people.The latter will have to stay in their barracks for there would be no one thugs to give them order of opening fire on innocent people.

    Pp can change itself or we will change him.We will not accept an illegitimate rogue system and ofreign control anymore PP.Change or we will change you.Choose betwwen democracy or coup detat Pp.the choice is yours?

    Jeanne D'Arc





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  3. Strangely enough now the Herminies want to overthrow JAM.

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  4. Crocrodile Herminie cannot overthrow JAM he is toothless,jawless,too lazy ,too slavish to the system which make him be what he is.Herminie problem is that he is afraid of a coup by determine Seychellois and fear he ends up like Ghaddafi thus he could not enjoy his multi-millions stolen from the people.In fact,he is right to think this way for should action be taken against PP,many would end up as sewage rats.

    But Herminie can do something right before the use of force,namely go out publicly ,show that he opposes Michel policies and even give up his throne in the Assembly then he could at least say,"i repent before ,give me a chance".He could stop those mascarade going on in the Assembly and use his position to stop His PP ministers abusing the Assembly as scapegoat for their crook practices.etc..etc..etc

    Jeanne D'Arc

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  5. When publci opion turns against elected officials in a democracy,the people remove leaders out in th next election.They do not call the military out of the barracks to depsoe and arrest thier lected officials.But such practice cannot be achieve in a thugocracy,Thus the poepl reserve the right to dispose a rogue regime that scapedgoated the constituion that was adopted by overwhelmingly by the people.

    Push the thugtocrats aside,t ore-establish order,democracy,our people dignity.Pp ssystem does not reflect the people interests and values so either Pp change and respect the people will or be forced out.

    jeanne D'Arc

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  6. USA was desperate to remove FAR. Anyone was an alternative. Today Berlouis supports Michel. His wife works for him.

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    1. THIS IS CORRECT, SHE CAN ALSO KEEP ON WAITING FOR THAT MINISTERIAL JOB. WEAR NO KNICKERS FOR A LITTLE WHILE LONGER, MAY BE THEN.

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  7. I would say that JAM is so scared of his shadow that's why he has appointed berloius wife in the top position.I wonder if he would do similarly to Jamecan childrens as jamecan was in the coup too.

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  8. God forbid another coup d'etat..It will not be good for the country..Violence always begets violence...

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    1. my friend is there any other way. If we do not take our country back it will end up in Arabs hands, is that what you want for the people and our generations to come. TAKING BACK WHAT IS RIGHTFULY OURS IS NOT VIOLENCE. IT IS CALL JUSTICE.

      The idea of violence is repulsive. However few of us have to die to protect thousands of us and new generations to come. IF NOT WE ARE DOOM! THINK ABOUT IT!

      WE HAVE DO DO WHAT NEEDS TO DO TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY. IF PL GOVERNMENT DO NOT RESIGN THEN WE WILL HAVE NO CHOICE!
      NOT TODAY NOT TOMORROW BUT WE WILL TAKE WHAT IS OURS AND A FAIR ELECTION WILL TAKE PLACE. NO MORE DICTATORSHIP, NO MORE CORRUPTIONS AND NO MORE INJUSTICE.

      i DO NOT STAND FOR ANY PARTY, I AM MY OWN PERSON AND HAVE LOTS OF SUPPORT. WE WILL COME, AND SEYCHELLES WILL RISE ABOVE KAKA CAMELS!

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  9. The Sechelles Seychelles Opposition is/control - program since 1986

    http://members.webs.com/MembersB/editAppPage.jsp?app=forums&pageID=308541622&token=null#

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  10. O. Berlouis could have overthrown Rene but he has no balls to do do what he had to do as leader. He should have got rid of Michel in the first place because he was the one who called Rene in Harare and urged him to return in Rajiv Gandhi's plane. And what happened afterwards? all suspected military officers were sacked from the service, paving the way for Michel to become next to Rene and presidency. Michel even undermined Ferrari, Hodoul and all the others along the way through horrifying deeds!
    As for Berlouis and other army officers, were muffled up, they were given a pension for life on condition they stay quiet. Their pension is under the heading 'Retired Army Mayors' All of them have never been properly promoted to the rank of mayor and with no service to be qualified for a pension for life!

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  11. This is public money and as a tax payers,seychelles people deserved to know publicly who are these people.can someone start listing their names on this blogg please.

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  12. It was told when FAR arrived as Idira Ghandi ,dreesed in rag,the butcher went hiding into RAM sinior LATRINE with fear in his arse.

    Jeanne D'Arc

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  13. Who was behind the 1982 seychelles army rebellion?
    The rumour had it that it was O Berlious?

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  14. That how MIchel and co will do when we will be ready for action.

    Johnny

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  15. Seychellois is too submissive.I can't see anything coming from them.

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  16. A coup has to happen when the guardians of our constitution are no longer fit to implement our constitution and the country is being run by a puppet!

    As long as our back is against the wall, we can still have hopes and pray that a good samaritan will find us and rescue us. On the other hand, when we're pushed to the cliff we can either jump or push back.

    I also was baffled when I saw the farmer setting fire to his field prior to disseminate the seeds! I said to myself, "what a stupid idea". It wasn't long before the new crop was flourishing and I had to admit to myself that the farmer knows a lot more about the land than I do and I was dumb to doubt his wisdom.

    Should I go on? Do you know how to make an omelette without breaking the egg?...

    MICROBIOME :) :) :)

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  17. Seselwa who had been living under coconut trees all thier life are to submissive.

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  18. There are report of an army uprising.

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