For Maldives’ new government, it is India First

India First, Maldives, Narendra Modi, Defence, security, Sushma Swaraj,

Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, called on the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (November 27, 2018).

Welcoming Shahid and his delegation to India, the President said that India and Maldives enjoy a uniquely special, close and friendly relationship. The government of India’s vision of inclusive development also extends to our neighbourhood including Maldives. We are always ready to support the socio-economic development of Maldives.

The President noted that the government of Maldives has launched a 100-day action plan that is people-centric and aimed at transforming the lives of the people of Maldives. He stated that India will support the government of Maldives’ efforts and work in alignment with its identified priorities.

During this high-profile engagement visit, Ibrahim Ameer, the Minister of Finance, Fayyaz Ismail, the Minister of Economic Development, Ahmed Khaleel, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, Foreign Secretary also came with Shahid.

With this visit it was decided that the state Visit of President Solih to India will take place on December 17, 2018. Indian PM Narendra Modi has already been to Solih’s oath ceremony breaking the cool that has descended due to rising dictatorial tendencies of the previous government.

Meanwhile, FM Abdulla Shahid reiterated his Government’s “India First” policy and said that his government looks forward to working closely with the government of India on all issues. He reaffirmed Maldives’ special, close and friendly relations with India. Minister Abdulla also reiterated that the government of Maldives will be sensitive towards India’s security and strategic concerns.

EAM Sushma Swaraj welcomed Maldives’ decision to rejoin the Commonwealth and expressed India’s support for it. She also welcomed Maldives into the Indian Ocean Rim Association as its newest member.

The two Ministers then brought up security and defence matters including ongoing projects and new areas of cooperation. In this regard, they agreed to hold the next meeting of the Defence Cooperation Dialogue between both countries in the first half of December 2018. They also discussed ways and means to expand and diversify the bilateral economic and commercial relations. In this regard, they agreed that the private sector needs to be encouraged to play a leading role.

Maldivian FM invited EAM Sushma Swaraj to pay a bilateral visit to the Maldives which she agreed. They also decided to hold the next meeting of the Joint Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers at the earliest.

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