INDIA and Maldives are good neighbours and strong partners, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday as he underlined that the two countries also together have the responsibility for peace and security in the region. Jaishankar, who is here on the first leg of his three-day visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka, made the remarks after a “productive meeting” with his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid during which they discussed the full spectrum of special bilateral partnership with a focus on development cooperation, capacity building and people-to-people ties. “We are good neighbours. We are strong partners. We have mutually invested in development and progress. But we also together have a responsibility for peace and security in the region,” the Minister said in a joint press appearance along with Shahid.
He said the security partnership between the two countries also continues to strengthen which is the way it should be. “Again here, India is always willing to meet the requirements and the needs of the Maldives both for itself and for the larger region,” he added. A number of significant Memorandums of Understanding were exchanged between Maldives and India in various fields, expanding the cooperation between the two countries.
One of the MoUs was on additional grant assistance of 100 million Rufiyaa for the High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) scheme. A number of socio-economic development projects are planned to be implemented throughout the country under this funding. Others included the development of a sports complex in Gahdhoo and academic collaboration between Maldives National University and Cochin University of Science and Technology. The two Ministers also witnessed the handover of two sea ambulances from India to the Ministry of Defence of Maldives. Meanwhile, S Jaishankar on Wednesday said he was grieved to learn about the passing away of Gambian Vice President Badara A Joof, who was undergoing treatment in India. “Deeply grieved to learn about the passing away of Vice President of the Gambia Badara A. Joof, who was undergoing treatment in India,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.