Male: India will always be a reliable security partner for the Maldives, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said here on Sunday, as New Delhi signed a USD 50 million defence Line of Credit agreement with the island nation to facilitate capability building in the maritime domain.
Jaishankar, who is here on a two-day visit, held discussions with Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Didi.
“Cordial meeting with Defence Minister @MariyaDidi. Useful exchange on our defence cooperation. India will always be a reliable security partner for the Maldives,” he tweeted.
“Glad to sign with Defence Minister @MariyaDidi the UTF Harbour Project agreement. Will strengthen Maldivian Coast Guard capability and facilitate regional HADR efforts. Partners in development, partners in security,” he said.
Jaishankar on Sunday called on Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and reaffirmed India’s fullest commitment as a comprehensive development partner of the island nation during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Jaishankar has gifted 100,000 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Maldives.
After holding talks with President Solih, Jaishankar tweeted, “Thank President @ibusolih for receiving me. Conveyed PM’s greetings. Reiterated our fullest commitment as comprehensive development partners – during COVID and beyond.”
Addressing a joint press conference on Saturday along with his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid, Jaishankar said the ‘India First’ foreign policy of President Solih is reciprocated in full measure by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy in which Maldives enjoys a central position.”
He said the first and largest recipient of India’s Covid support – be it medicines, food, medical response teams or financial package – was Maldives.
India last month had provided 1,00,000 doses of Covisheild vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), to the Maldives as part of India’s grant assistance.