New Maldives President Ibu Solih will visit India on December 17 in keeping with India First Policy — a trip that will witness India extend a hand of assistance and Male assuring to safeguard Delhi’s security interests.
Solih’s visit was firmed up during ongoing visit of Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid. He was accompanied by Fayaaz Ismail, Minister of Finance, Ibrahim Ameer, the Minister of Economic Development, Ahmed Khaleel, Minister of State for Foreign affairs and Abdul Ghafoor Mohammed, Foreign Secretary. It is understood that the Maldives has urged for a financial package from India. India assured the Maldives of support in implementing its development priorities and in ensuring fiscal and budgetary stability.
Shahid held bilateral consultations with Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister here on Monday. He also met Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister and will meet the President on Tuesday.
The Ministers discussed 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.
The Foreign Ministers agreed that State Visit of President Solih to India will take place on December 17 and both Ministers held wide consultations to lay the groundwork for this visit. ET was first to report about Solih’s trip in December.
Swaraj in her meeting with Shahid reiterated that India attaches the highest importance to its relationship with the Maldives which is marked by trust, transparency, mutual understanding and sensitivity. She said that that in line with Government of India’s Neighbourhood First policy, India stands ready to fully support the Government of the Maldives in its socio-economic development.
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.
Swaraj welcomed Maldives’ decision to rejoin the Commonwealth and expressed India’s support for it. She also welcomed the Maldives into the Indian Ocean Rim Association as its newest member. Both sides held discussions on how to strengthen the development partnership between both countries.
The Ministers recognized that, given the historical and cultural links between both countries, people-to-people contact between both countries was important. In this regard, they agreed to hold the meeting of the bilateral Consular Dialogue at the earliest.
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.
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