NEW DELHI: India and Maldives inked four pacts including in the areas of cooperation in culture, agribusiness and information technology and for easy facilitation of visas.
Welcoming the pact on facilitation of visa arrangements, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih expressed satisfaction that this will facilitate many Maldivians who send their children to school in India, to be able to accompany them, according to a joint statement.
It added that the pact will also facilitate easier visa arrangements for Maldivian citizens and their families to come to India for medical treatment.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted that the new agreement will address the common concerns and ensure that people-to-people contacts are enhanced.
The Maldives is one of the very few countries with which India has a visa free arrangement.
The other agreements were on cultural cooperation, establishing mutual cooperation to improve the ecosystem for agribusiness and joint declaration of intent on cooperation in the field of information & communications technology and electronics.
According to the statement, both sides agreed to work together to create institutional linkages and to establish a framework of cooperation in areas of health, mutual legal assistance on criminal matters, investment promotion and tourism.
Solih arrived here on Sunday on a three-day state visit, his first foreign trip after assuming office in the island nation a month ago.
In a joint press statement, PM Modi said it was a matter of honour and pride that Solih chose India as the country for his first foreign visit,
On his part, Solih reaffirmed his government’s “India-First Policy” and commitment to working together closely with India.
Modi also announced that India would provide 1,000 additional slots over the next five years for training and capacity building in diverse fields including judicial, policing and law-enforcement, audit and financial management, local governance, community development, IT, e-governance, sports, media, youth and women empowerment, leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, art and culture.
Modi and Solih reaffirmed their “unwavering commitment” and support for increased cooperation in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations both within the region and elsewhere.
Both sides agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation on issues of common concern, including piracy, terrorism, organised crime, drugs and human trafficking. It was also agreed to intensify cooperation in the areas of training and capacity building of Maldives police service and Maldives national defence force.
Both leaders agreed on the importance of combatting the impacts of climate change, especially detrimental to developing countries, and small island developing states, and the need to work towards strengthening the global response to climate change, through the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) and the Paris agreement.
The two leaders underscored the need for strengthening and reform of multilateral financial institutions and enhancing the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making.
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