During his two-day high-level bilateral visit to the Maldives, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla on Monday called President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and briefed him on the satisfactory state of implementation of the decisions taken. during high-level interactions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Solih. in December 2018 and June 2019.
Mr Solih expressed his deep gratitude for the support received from India in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the financial assistance of USD 250 million provided in September 2020 as budget support, according to a communicated.
Mr. Shringla explained the progress made in the implementation of eight major infrastructure projects in the Maldives under Indian lines of credit. Five of these infrastructure projects are expected to begin within the next two months.
During his meeting with President Mohamed Nasheed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs also acknowledged his long-standing support for strengthening bilateral relations between India and the Maldives. He also assessed it on the capacity building support provided by the Indian Parliament to the People’s Majlis.
Mr. Shringla, along with Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, witnessed the signing of the agreement to provide a $ 100 million grant to the Maldives to co-finance the Grand Male connectivity project.
Memoranda of understanding on the establishment of a drug detoxification center (grant of 7,980,536.69 MVR) in Addu and the modernization of the agricultural research center of Hanimaadhoo (1 MVR, grant of 711,434.60 ) have also been concluded.
He announced India’s decision to support the candidacy of Foreign Minister Shahid for the post of President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly for the year 2021-2022.
In his appeal to Minister of Defense Uza. Mariya Ahmed Didi, Shringla had informed him of the excellent state of bilateral defense cooperation, including joint surveillance of the EEZ, joint military exercises and HADR.
He then congratulated the Minister of Tourism, Dr Abdullah Mausoom, for the successful efforts which have resulted in a steady increase in tourist arrivals to the Maldives, which has placed the recovery of the tourism industry on solid footing.
He also reviewed the state of bilateral relations with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Abdul Ghafoor, where they discussed respective national approaches to tackle the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ghafoor expressed his government’s gratitude for India’s substantial assistance to the Maldives to deal with the effects of the pandemic.
They positively assessed the robust growth of various elements of our bilateral relations, including the development partnership, health cooperation, connectivity, trade and economic relations.
Following this, Mr. Shringla participated in a material handover event for the establishment of children’s parks in 67 islands spread over the atolls.
He also visited the site of the Ekuveni field in Male, where a new running track under development was financed by an Indian grant.
These two projects are included in the thirty projects implemented in the Maldives under the grant of Rs 90 crores (13 million USD) from India.
Speaking at the event, Shringla noted that the Maldives will be among the first countries to receive COVID-19 vaccines, as soon as one is developed in India.
According to the statement, this is India’s first high-level bilateral visit to the Maldives this year and follows the interaction held on August 13, 2020 between Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid in digital video conference format.
Solih and Modi also interacted via video conference in April to discuss help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shringla began his two-day visit to the Maldives on Monday by calling on President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and held substantive discussions on India-Maldives relations, advancing on-going development projects under a financial envelope of 1.3 billion USD.
The Indian High Commission said Shringla was traveling to the Maldives to advance the partnership between the two countries. He will engage with Maldivian leaders, key ministers and a cross-section of national and societal leaders, the commission said.