“Neighbourhood First Policy”: India, Maldives partnership reaches $2.6 bn
On Saturday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, during his visit to the Maldives, signed pacts on health and education besides discussing regional security and maritime safety issues with foreign minister Abdulla Shahid at the Addu City. Both the countries held bilateral talks.
Speaking about the talks Jaishankar said, “I return to the Maldives after more than a year and the time in between, despite Covid, has witnessed fast-paced progress in our relationship. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, our cooperation has actually witnessed and withstood the arc and anguish of the pandemic.” He also termed development as the ‘central pillar of the relationship’.
He added that they had wide-ranging discussions on bilateral partnership and also took stock of ongoing projects and initiatives across different sectors. “We looked at socio-economic development, trade and investment, and also tourism,” Jaishankar said.
Sharing a video of the meet, Jaishankar tweeted, “A pleasure to visit Maldives after a year. Despite the pandemic, our relationship has witnessed fast-paced progress this year under the guidance of PM Narendra Modi & President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Congratulate Maldives for scripting a success story in this adversity.”
A pleasure to visit Maldives after a year.
Congratulate Maldives for scripting a success story in this adversity.https://t.co/t49Tme6RGm
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 26, 2022
Jaishankar further added, “It is a very transparent partnership, driven directly by Maldivian needs and priorities. Today, this support ranges upwards of $2.6 billion in terms of grants, concessional loans, budgetary support, capacity building, and training assistance.”
After the meeting, Maldives Foreign Minister Shahid tweeted, “You’ve made history, Minister Jaishankar. This is the first time that official talks have been held outside of the Capital city of Male.” He added that “fortifying and building on the long-standing ties is one of the top foreign policy priorities of President Solih’s administration.”
You’ve made history, Minister @DrSJaishankar!
This is the first time official talks have been held out of the Capital City Male’.
Fortifying & building on the long-standing 🇲🇻- 🇮🇳 ties is one of the top foreign policy priorities of President Solih’s administration. pic.twitter.com/yYHcyrKFj2
— Abdulla Shahid (@abdulla_shahid) March 26, 2022
Shahid further said that the Maldives welcomes India’s “Neighbourhood First Policy” under which the island nation has gained immense socio-economic benefits and that they, too, remain committed to their “India First Policy”. “Our relationship has stood the test of time and is one that will continue to flourish. I thank India for the assistance it has provided throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We remain grateful that we can always rely on India during times of need. Both our countries have experienced the hardships and tragedies of the pandemic, but we are emerging stronger together.”
[With Inputs from IANS]
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