Former Army chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag (Retd) has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to Seychelles, an island nation with which India has strong military ties.

He is expected to take up the assignment shortly, the External Affairs Ministry said.

A highly-decorated officer, Gen Suhag was the 26th Chief of Army Staff leading the force from 31 July 2014 to 31 December 2016.

He was the Army chief when India conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in September 2016 following the Uri terror attack.

India is developing the Assumption Island in Seychelles as a naval base to expand its footprint in the region where China has increased its presence considerably in recent years.

India and Seychelles signed the agreement for developing the island in 2015. Thereafter, there were reports that Seychelles was cancelling the accord.

But Seychelles President Danny Faure, during his visit to India in June last year, dispelled the speculation and reiterated that the two countries would work together on the island project.