New Delhi, January 13 (newsin.asia): After falling out with the government of India on various economic, political and geo-strategic issues, the Maldives government headed by President Abdulla Yameen, has revived its ‘India first’ policy.
Amid a prolonged strain in bilateral ties over a host of issues, including the signing of a free trade agreement between Maldives and China.
President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had dispatched his top diplomat Dr Mohamed Asim on a three day visit to New Delhi reiterated Male’s ‘India First’ policy and, according to a statement issued by India.
Asim emphasized that Maldives attaches the highest priority to its ties with India.
According to official Indian sources,Asim, who was on a three-day visit to New Delhi till Thursday, assured Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj that Male will do nothing to jeopardize India’s security interests and that it would expedite work on India’s developmental projects which the two countries had announced during Yameen’s visit to India.
Discussions in Asim’s meetings with Modi and Swaraj centred around strengthening of the development partnership between India and Maldives and enhancing defense and security cooperation, said an Indian Foreign Ministry release.
Asim also invited Modi to Maldives, the only SAARC country which the Indian Prime Minister has not visited until now.
Modi agreed to visit Maldives “at a suitable time” as he affirmed that India would always remain a reliable and close neighbor. Asim is also said to have discussed with his Indian counterpart Maldives’ recent FTA with China. Male continues to maintain that it would soon like to have a similar agreement with India.
“Swaraj met Mohamed Asim, foreign minister and special envoy of the President of Maldives. Both had productive discussions to strengthen bilateral relationship keeping in mind ‘India First’ policy of Maldives and our policy of ‘Neighbourhood first’,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
“External affairs minister (Swaraj) conveyed our commitment to achieving the full potential of our relationship in line with India’s Neighborhood First policy,” he said.
(The featured image at the top shows Dr.Mohamed Asim being warmly greeted by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj)