President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on Wednesday jointly launched four developmental projects in the Maldives.
The projects were launched with the exchange of agreements between the two countries during a special video conference.
The agreements include establishing neighbourhood fish processing plants in Addu City, acceptance of the RuPay Card in the Maldives, gifting LED street lamps to Malé City and gifting in-shore patrol vessel to Maldives Coast Guard.
President Solih and Prime Minister Modi delivered remarks at the video conference simulcast live in Maldives and India. This is the first time for the Maldives to exchange bilateral agreements with another country via video conferencing.
Bilateral relations between the Maldives and India have strengthened significantly since President Solih was elected as President in 2018. While Modi has visited the Maldives twice since then, President Solih has also visited India. The neighbouring country has extended several grant aids to Maldives.
Speaking at the video conference, President Solih said his administration accords the highest priority to its relationship with India.
Highlighting the age-old ties between the two countries, the President said a renewed dynamism is seen in the relationship under his administration.
“I have every confidence that the relations between our two countries will continue to flourish in the days ahead,” he said.
“The essence of our renewed commitment to further strengthen our bilateral, economic and cultural ties is the strong political will of both our Governments.”
Noting that preserving the safety and security of the Indian Ocean has bridged the two nations over the years, President Solih stated that the in-shore patrol vessel CGS Kaamiyaab, gifted by the Indian Government, would become a valuable asset in the Coast Guard’s ability to protect the maritime borders and respond quickly to any situation that arises.
Emphasising the administration’s commitment to delivering people-centred growth that is inclusive and sustainable, the President noted that the development of three Neighbourhood Fish Processing Plants in Addu City addresses a vital pledge of the administration.
“The MOUs will contribute towards fetching better prices for fish, increasing fish purchase and processing capacity and providing employment opportunities, which will in turn enhance household incomes,” he added.
Speaking about the acceptance of RuPay Card in the Maldives, the President expressed his confidence that it would help in the growth of the number of Indian tourists visiting the Maldives. He further highlighted that both countries agree on the urgent need to address the global threat posed by climate change.
In this regard, the President expressed his pleasure with the progress made in the field of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy between the two countries. He noted that the installation of LED street lamps, gifted by the Indian Government to Malé City, would contribute in a big way towards the broader goals of energy efficiency, and reducing Maldives’ carbon footprint.
The President concluded his remarks by expressing contentment with the substantially improved number of diplomatic engagements with India and the Indian Ocean Region as a whole. “I look forward to working with the Indian government in the near future to strengthen regional collaboration towards maritime security and commercial prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region,” he added.
In his remarks, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi congratulated President Solih’s administration for its first year in office which he described as a landmark year for democracy and development. He further highlighted that India’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy, coupled with Maldives’ ‘India first’ policy, has ensured significant progress and strengthened the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Speaking about development cooperation over the next few years, the Indian Prime Minister expressed his confidence that India’s assistance would bring many benefits to the people of the Maldives.
“As a close friend and maritime member, India is committed to continue partnering with Maldives for democracy and development. We will also enhance our cooperation for peace and mutual security in the Indian Ocean Region,” the Prime Minister added.