PM Modi’s diplomatic push; meets Maldivian political leaders

Male: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently on a state visit to the Maldives, held a flurry of meetings with several leaders of the island nation and discussed various issues to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

This is the Prime Minister’s first overseas visit after he assumed office for a second term.

During the meeting between Modi and Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the two leaders discussed ways to bolster economic and cultural ties between the two countries.

“Had an excellent meeting with President @ibusolih. During our talks, we reviewed the full range of relations between India and the Republic of Maldives. We discussed ways to enhance economic and cultural relations between the citizens of our nations. @presidencymv,” Modi tweeted.

The Prime Minister also met former President and Speaker of the Maldivian Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, and said that “he has always been a strong votary of robust relations between the two nations.”

“We had a wonderful meeting in Male, where a wide range of topics were discussed,” PM Modi said.

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid too held talks with Modi, according to a tweet from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO.

PM Modi, who met former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, described the latter as an “extraordinary statesman” who served the country with “great diligence.”

“Had fruitful discussions with him on ways to strengthen friendship between India and the Republic of Maldives,” he said.

Continuing his diplomatic outreach, the Prime Minister held discussions with Maldivian Vice President Faisal Naseem, where the two leaders talked about steps to strengthen economic cooperation and people-to-people ties between the two countries.

“Mr. @FaisalNasym, the Vice President of the Republic of Maldives held discussions with PM @narendramodi. Ways to boost economic cooperation and people-to-people ties between India and Maldives were discussed during the meeting,” a tweet from PMO read.

The Prime Minister held separate meetings with Qasim Ibrahim of Jumhooree Party and Maldivian Home Minister and Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla and held fruitful discussions on bolstering bilateral cooperation.

PM Modi arrived in the Maldives on Saturday and received a ceremonial welcome at the Republic Square in Male.

During the visit, he was conferred with ‘Nishan Izzuddeen’, the Maldives’ highest honour accorded to foreign dignitaries.

The Prime Minister then addressed the Maldivian Parliament, or the Majlis, where he touched upon various aspects of bilateral ties between the two nations, the need to eliminate terrorism, working together to combat climate change and other issues.

The two countries signed six agreements for strengthening cooperation in various fields.

They are:
– MoU for Cooperation in the Field of Hydrography between Indian Navy and Maldives National Defence Force
– MoU on Cooperation in the field of Health between Indian and Maldivian governments
– MoU for the Establishment of Passenger and Cargo Services by Sea between Ministry of Shipping, Government of India and Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Government of the Maldives
– MoU for Cooperation in Customs Capacity Building between the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs of India and the Maldives Customs Service
– MoU between National Centre for Good Governance, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances and Maldives Civil Service Commission on Training and Capacity Building Programme for Maldivian Civil Servants
– Technical Agreement on Sharing White Shipping Information between the Indian Navy and the Maldives National Defence Force.

PM Modi will halt in Sri Lanka on his way back, underlining his government’s continued commitment towards its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

The Prime Minister had earlier visited the Maldives in November last year to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Solih, who assumed office after defeating Abdulla Yameen in the presidential polls.