India's headaches in its surroundings seem to be multiplying with each passing day. After its relationship with Maldives took a beating recently over the latter's president's excesses, it is now turn of Seychelles to leave New Delhi dejected. The archipelago in the Indian Ocean which India tried to win over to reduce its gap with China in the strategic race in South Asia and the adjoining areas has decided not to proceed with a deal with New Delhi to invest $550 million for setting up a military base in one of its islands -- Assumption, reports said.

Seychelles' President Danny Faure announced the decision earlier this month and ahead of his visit to India on June 25. He also said that the issue will not be taken up during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that Seychelles will build the project by itself.

The pact, which created much uproar in Seychelles' domestic politics, was first announced when Modi made a visit to the island-nation early 2015 along with Mauritius and Sri Lanka (the trip to the Maldives was cancelled) primarily to build a counter-strategy against China's ambitions in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The pact faced initial hurdles and former foreign secretary S Jaishankar made an urgent visit to Seychelles last year to resolve the problem. He went there again in January this year to approve the renegotiated pact.

The pact with Seychelles was first announced during Narendra Modi's visit to the strategic Indian Ocean archipelago nation in 2015. The deal faced hurdles and former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had to make an unannounced visit to Seychelles in October 2017 to resolve the differences. He visited the country again in January to sign the renegotiated agreement covering 20 years.

But a script similar to Nepal unfolded thereafter. There was an uproar that the Seychelles government "sold off" Assumption Island to India and even though Jaishankar's successor Vijay Gokhale went to the island-nation in May to save the agreement, he couldn't. In 2015, Jaishankar was sent to the Himalayan country to resolve the crisis that emanated from its constitutional progress and affected the relation between New Delhi and Kathmandu. With Faure now announcing Seychelles' decision to not to proceed further on the pact, South Block will now have a major worry over the growing Chinese presence in the IOR region.

India has reportedly sought clarification from the Seychelles' leadership over its move for the actual concern is not the island-state funding the project but India's ouster from it when China is cementing its foothold in the strategic region.

It is understandable that India felt being let down after three years of negotiations and also helping Seychelles to improve its own infrastructure by helping to set up a Costal Radar Surveillance system and granting the archipelago three fast-track patrol vessels and a Dornier aircraft. India is now really worried to know what Seychelles wants to do with the project it has refused to take forward with India.

Seychelles has decided against taking the project forward because of its domestic political compulsions; opposition to the idea of getting involved in India's rivalry with China in the region and also the possibility of environmental damages because of the military practices. As a sovereign country, it has every right to do whatever it feels serves its national interests.

However, for India, the risk is more.