The President, Ms Pratibha Patil, arrived here today on the first leg of her two-nation visit to boost India’s friendly ties with the African country.

She was received at the Mahe airport by her Seychelles’ counterpart, Mr James Alix Michel, who welcomed her warmly.

Possibly on her last foreign visit as President of India before she retires on July 25, Ms Patil will spend two days in this country before heading to South Africa for a week-long visit.

This will be the second presidential visit to Seychelles, the strategically located island in Indian Ocean, after that of President, R. Venkataraman, way back in 1989.

In Seychelles, Ms Patil will have a meeting with Mr Michel during which various aspects of bilateral relations and regional and international issues are expected to be discussed.

A highlight of the Seychelles visit is that the President will address the Special Session of the National Assembly. Ms Patil’s visit to South Africa is another indication of New Delhi’s growing ties with Pretoria.

A business delegation is also accompanying Ms Patil that will address the India-South Africa Business Forum meet.

Trade between India and South Africa was pegged at over $11 billion in 2010-11, of which imports were more than seven billion and exports around $4 billion. The trade turnover target has been revised to $15 billion by 2014.

Members of the delegation accompanying the President are the Union Minister, Mr Sachin Pilot, and MPs, Ms Prabha Thakur and Mr Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre.