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India, Maldives sign four MoUs, release Joint Statement

India and Maldives have released a Joint Statement after warm and friendly talks between Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the former’s first official state visit to India from December 16-18, 2018.

Dec 18, 2018 12:26 IST
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India and Maldives released a Joint Statement on December 17, 2018 after warm and friendly talks between Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the former’s first official state visit to India from December 16-18, 2018.

This is President Solih’s first visit abroad after assuming the office of President of the Republic of Maldives on November 17, 2018. The President of Maldives is accompanied by his wife First Lady Fazna Ahmed and a high-level delegation comprising of ministers and industry leaders.

  India, Maldives sign four MoUs, release Joint Statement

During the talks, the two leaders reiterated their strong commitment to further strengthening and reinvigorating the traditionally strong and friendly relations between India and the Maldives, nurtured by geographical contiguity, ethnic, historical, socio-economic and cultural ties between the peoples of the two countries. They also reiterated an abiding faith in and commitment to democracy, development and peaceful co-existence.

Prime Minister Modi warmly recalled his recent visit to the Maldives to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Solih as his special guest. He also reiterated the highest importance that India attaches to its relationship with the Maldives.

Following the talks, four MoU’s were signed between the two nations. The agreements include:

S. No

MoUs

Indian Signatory

Maldives Signatory

1.

Agreement on the Facilitation of Visa Arrangements

Sushma Swaraj, 
External Affairs Minister

Shahid Abdulla,
Minister of Foreign Affairs

2.


Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation

 

Arun Goel, Secretary,
Ministry of Culture

Shahid Abdulla,
Minister of Foreign Affairs

3.

Memorandum of Understanding for Establishing Mutual Cooperation to Improve the Ecosystem for Agribusiness

Akhilesh Mishra,
Ambassador of India to Maldives

Fayyaz Ismail,
Minister of Economic Development

4.

Joint Declaration of Intent on Cooperation in the field of Information & Communications Technology and Electronics

Akhilesh Mishra,
Ambassador of India to Maldives

Mohamed Aslam, 
Minister of National Planning and Infrastructure

The nations also agreed to work together to create institutional linkages and to establish a framework of cooperation in the following areas:

Health cooperation issues particularly cancer treatment

Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters

Investment promotion

Human Resource Development

Tourism

Highlights of the Joint Statement

‘Neighbourhood-First’ Policy

Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s assurance of all possible support to the Maldives in realising its aspirations for socio-economic development, and strengthening of democratic and independent institutions.

In this regard, the Prime Minister announced the provision of financial assistance up to US$ 1.4 billion in the form of budgetary support, currency swap and concessional lines of credit to fulfil the socio-economic development programmes of the Maldives.

India-First Policy

President Solih reaffirmed his government’s "India-First Policy”, and commitment to working together closely with India.

He appreciated the generous assistance provided by the Indian Government to the Maldives and identified various areas for developmental cooperation, including private sector involvement in development of housing and infrastructure, water and sewerage systems in the outlying islands, healthcare, education and tourism.

  India, Maldives sign four MoUs, release Joint Statement

Connectivity

The two leaders emphasised the need to improve connectivity between the two countries through the establishment of enabling infrastructure that would promote the exchange of goods and services, information, ideas, culture and people.

Visa Facilitation Agreement

Recognising the importance of facilitating people-to-people exchanges and travel, the two leaders welcomed the new agreement on Visa Facilitation.

Prime Minister Modi noted that the new agreement will address the common concerns and ensure that people-to-people contacts are enhanced. The Maldives is one of the very few countries with which India has a visa-free arrangement.

President Solih observed that the agreement will facilitate many Maldivians who send their children to school in India, to be able to accompany them. The agreement will also facilitate easier visa arrangements for Maldivian citizens and their families, to come to India for medical treatment.

Both leaders emphasised the need to ensure seamless movement of people between both countries.

Indo-Pacific Region

The two leaders agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region. They reiterated their assurance of being mindful of each other’s concerns and aspirations for the stability of the region and not allowing their respective territories to be used for any activity inimical to the other.

The two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation to enhance maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region through coordinated patrolling and aerial surveillance, exchange of information and capacity building.

Terrorism

The two leaders reaffirmed their unwavering commitment and support for increased cooperation in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations both within the region and elsewhere.

They also agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation on issues of common concern such as piracy, terrorism, organised crime, drugs and human trafficking. They also agreed to intensify cooperation in the areas of training and capacity building of Maldives Police Service and Maldives National Defence Force.

  India, Maldives sign four MoUs, release Joint Statement

Bilateral Trade

The two leaders reviewed efforts to promote bilateral trade and investment ties between the two countries. The Indian Prime Minister welcomed the expanding opportunities for Indian companies to invest in the Maldives in different sectors for the mutual benefit of both countries.

The two leaders also agreed to promote closer economic cooperation in sectors such as fisheries development, tourism, transportation, connectivity, health, education, information technology, new and renewable energy and communications.

Global Issues

The two leaders reiterated the importance of an effective multilateral system as a key factor in tackling global challenges. They recognised the need to pursue reform of the main UN bodies, including the revitalisation of the UN General Assembly and expansion of the UN Security Council.

The Maldives President reiterated his country's support for India's candidature for permanent membership of an expanded and reformed UN Security Council. The Maldives also reiterated support for India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat for the year 2020-21.

India welcomed Maldives’ decision to re-join the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister also welcomed the Maldives as the newest member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

Climate Change

The two leaders agreed on the importance of combating the impacts of climate change, especially detrimental to developing countries and Small Island Developing States and the need to work towards strengthening the global response to climate change, through the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.

Economy

The two leaders underscored the need for strengthening and reforming of multilateral financial institutions and enhancing the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making.

Conclusion

The talks concluded with the Maldives President extending his cordial invitation to the President and Prime Minister of India to make a state visit to the Maldives, which Prime Minister Modi accepted.

In an important gesture demonstrating the close ties between India and Maldives, President Solih was staying at the Rashtrapati Bhawan as a special guest of the Indian President during his stay in India.

India, Maldives released Joint Statement

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