Flowers are Blooming and RAW in Seychelles | Strange Military Stories

Seychelles was one the most hotly contested territories during the Cold War. The US wanted to establish a military base in Seychelles. Even Russian wanted a base in Seychelles to challenge the US's military base in Diego Garcia. Seychelles defended its territory very powerfully during that period to ensure that neither of the two powers succeeded in their goal. In 1977, a socialist leader, Albert Rene, gained power in Seychelles through a military coup. Since then, a lot of attempts of coup were made in Seychelles to remove Albert Rene. A most embarrassing situation had emerged in 1981 when a South African secret service agent, Hick Hoare, had landed in Seychelles disguised as a businessman but his plan was unfolded the moment the security agencies of Seychelles discovered huge cache of arms in his check-in baggage. 

Hick Hoare hijacked an Air India plane Al-707 aircraft and flew to Johannesburg. Finally, to put an end to repeated coup attempts, Albert Rene decided to ask for help from India. In 1986, the R&AW station officer advised Albert Rene that his own Defence Ministry Ogilvy was planning a coup. Albert Rene had a dialogue with the then Indian PM (Indira Gandhi) who handed over the matter to Admiral RH Tahiliani and R&AW officials. In close conference between Indian navy and the R&AW, it was decided that India would dispatch INS Vindhyagiri to Seychelles to participate in the National Day celebrations of Seychelles. The plan was that the moment INS Vindhyagiri would reach Seychelles, it would plant a request to increase its stay in Seychelles due to an engineering defect on board.

The operation was given its code name, 'Flowers are blooming. INS Vindhyagiri reached Seychelles and reported the engineering defect and requested an increased stay, which was subsequently granted. In the next 12 days, during the INS Vindhyagiri stay in Seychelles, the deck of the ship was used for aggressive power projections, conveying to the defence minister Ogilvy the clear consequences of a coup. The 12-day presence achieved the objective and Ogilvy left Seychelles and a coup was averted. Followed by this, in 1989, India established the Seychelles Defence Academy and began to strengthen the defence cooperation between the two nations.


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