Male, June 8 (AVAS): Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that he has been working towards rekindling and strengthening the bilateral relations between Maldives and India since he assumed the role of President of the Maldives last November.
During the joint press statement held together with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday evening, President Solih stated that he has always worked toward establishing a just government that brings development to its people through a mutual partnership with the citizens.
Assuring that the Maldives would always remain a faithful and true friend to its neighbor India, President Solih stated that the government prioritizes strengthening relations with India and other neighboring nations to attain the vision.
Acknowledging that the relationship between Maldives and India has strengthened significantly over the past few months, President Solih noted that India has always been a country that works towards regional peace in the Indian Ocean.
“Mr Prime Minister, I thank you for the very personal commitment you have shown in being a friend and partner to the Maldives. I wish Your Excellency, and the people of India peace, progress and prosperity. The Maldives will always remain a true friend of India, firmly committed to our shared vision of peace and development in our countries and our region”, the President said.
While the visa facilitation agreement signed last December during President Solih’s maiden trip to India is now in effect, the new arrangement has provided ease in travelling between the two countries, the President noted.
Highlighting the Coastal Surveillance Radar System and the Composite Training Center that were inaugurated earlier the same day, the President noted that the two projects would strengthen relations as well as security of both countries.
Speaking on the MoUs exchanged between the two countries, President Solih said the efforts to establish an efficient transport network between the two nations would impact both Maldives and India positively.
While establishing a ferry link between Cochin, Kulhudhufushi and Male’ would be of great benefit to businesses, tourists and cargo transportation, the President expressed hope that the project can be implemented at the earliest.
Noting that the government prioritizes skill development, the President revealed that 1000 civil servants will be trained in five years under an MoU signed on Saturday, while customs officials will undergo training for capacity building under a second MoU.
Expressing appreciation to the Prime Minister for the financial support extended to the Maldives in the forms of budgetary support, T-bills, currency swap and Line of Credit, the president said the government has already received budgetary grants as well as subscription through T-bills. Both countries are working toward implementing the projects financed under Line of Credit at the earliest, he revealed further.
Indian Prime Minister Modi stated that the decision to visit Maldives as his first visit overseas destination after winning the Indian general elections attested to the Indian government’s commitment to strengthening relations with Maldives.
In a tweet published in Maldivian language ‘Dhivehi’ after his arrival in the Maldives, PM Modi said choosing to visit Maldives on his first trip overseas during his second term emphasizes the importance of the bilateral relations that exist between both countries, and the Indian government’s keenness to develop relations with Maldives in different sectors.
‘This visit indicates the importance India attaches to strong ties with the Republic of Maldives and the desire to boost cooperation in various spheres’, read the tweet.
This is the second instance where PM Modi tweeted in Dhivehi. His first tweet in ‘Thaana’ was published congratulating two Maldivian artists who contributed musically in paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi through the song released by the Indian government on occasion of his 150th birthday.
The agreement to establish the ferry link between Cochin, India and Maldives was signed at a special ceremony held at the President’s Office on Saturday evening by Transport Minister Aishath Nahula and Indian Ambassador to the Maldives, Sanjay Sudhir.
A total of six MoUs were exchanged between the two nations during the ceremony, including agreements on civil service training and capacity building, hydrography, white shipping information, and the health sector.
However, details of the agreements were not revealed.
Ten Radar Systems
The 10 radar systems gifted by India that are stationed across Maldives, and the Composite Training Center established in Maafilaafushi of Lhaviyani atoll were also inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih through a remote link during the same ceremony.
The MNDF Composite Training Center was established in Lh. Maafilaafushi under Indian aid of US$ 7 million.
The ten radar systems gifted by the Indian government are able to connect with other systems established in Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and Seychelles through one network and will help to monitor the Maldivian Economic Zone, MNDF has previously reported. The system will provide real-time information on vessels in the area to relevant authorities.
Modi Gets Highest Maldivian Award
The Order of the rule of Izzudeen was conferred on Indian Prime Minister Modi.
The highest award given to any foreign national by the Maldives was presented to the influential political leader by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at a ceremony held on Saturday evening.
The award was presented to Narendra Modi for his efforts in strengthening the age-old friendship between India and Maldives, and in recognition of the assistance that the Indian government continues to provide to the archipelago under the Prime Minister’s leadership.
Speaking at the joint press conference that followed, PM Modi said it is a honour for all of India to be the recipient of the Order of the rule of Izzudeen.
PM Modi is the sixth foreign recipient of the award. The previous foreign recipients of the Order of the rule of Izzudeen were; Duke of Edinburgh, Earl Mountbatten – 15th March 1972
Former President of South Korea, Chun Doo-hwan – 30th October 1984
Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Sir Shridath Ramphal – 16th November 1986
Prince of Saudi Arabia, Al Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Azeez Masood – 2nd December 2009
Palestinian President, Dr. Mahmood Abbas – 4th June 2013
Modi left for Colombo in Sri Lanka on Sunday for a brief stop over in which he will visit St.Anthony’s church in Kochikade which was destroyed by a Jehadist suicide bomber on April 21 Easter Sunday. He would also meet President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa and the leader of the Tamil National Alliance R.Sampanthan.