'Maldives will always remain a true friend of India' - Pres. Solih

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, 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 traveling between the two countries, the President noted. Further highlighting on 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 the 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 neighboring 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 Narendra Modi concluded his official two-day state visit to the Maldives on Sunday morning. Six MoUs on five sectors were exchanged between Maldives and India during the Prime Minister's visit.