The 5th meeting of the India-Maldives Joint Commission was held on 11 October 2015 in Male, the capital of Maldives.
The meeting was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Maldivian foreign minister Dunya Maumoon.
It reviewed entire gamut of the bilateral relationship including economic, security, administrative and cultural aspects and agreed to expand the scope of cooperation to sectors like information technology, tourism, fisheries, education, etc.
Further, the meeting also show cased growing policy alignment between both the countries that is evident from India’s Neighbours First and Maldives’ India First policies.
Important outcomes of the meeting
• It was agreed to set up a working group to monitor the implementation of the MoU signed in 2014 to augment collaboration in the health sector.
• It was agreed to strengthen tele-medicine linkages between the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Maldives and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.
• It was agreed to expand the number of speciality hospitals in India available to Maldivian nationals under the AASANDHA scheme.
• Both countries agreed to sign agreements at the earliest on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Tax Information Exchange.
• The next meeting of the commission would be held in 2017 in India.
Besides the above decisions, the meeting considered the following proposals.
• To establish a Joint Business Forum and a separate investment oriented forum in 2016 to accelerate business and trade relations.
• Maldivian side reiterated their interest in engaging with private investors in India for iHavan and Hulhulmale Youth City projects.
About India-Maldives Joint Commission
It was under the 1986 Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation and first met in Male in 1990. The Framework Agreement for Cooperation, signed in November 2011, mandated the Joint Commission to broaden its cross sectoral emphasise to include defence and security related issues.
The present meeting of the commission is a significant event in the arena of bilateral cooperation. It had both symbolic and substantial utility as it was held after a gap of 15 years to mark 50 years of bilateral relations.
It was also the first meeting after the 2011 Framework Agreement that expanded the scope of the commission to defence and security issues.
The bilateral security cooperation is of prime importance as both the countries face common threats in the form of terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking, etc in the Indian Ocean region.
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When: 11 October 2015