Written by Staff Writer
29 Jul, 2022 | 9:41 am
(NDTV); Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will pay a four-day visit to India from August 1 with an aim to lend further momentum to the already close partnership between the two countries.
The Maldives is one of India's key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and the overall bilateral ties, including in areas of defence and security, have been on an upward trajectory in the last few years.
"At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Republic of Maldives, will pay an official visit to India from August 1-4," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.
President Solih will be accompanied by a high-level official and business delegation.
Bagchi said the Maldivian leader will meet President Droupadi Murmu and hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will also call on President Solih.
Besides official engagements in New Delhi, President Solih will also visit Mumbai and participate in business events.
"President Solih's upcoming official visit will provide an opportunity for the two leaders to review the progress made in this wide-ranging partnership and impart direction to the two sides that will lend further momentum to this partnership," Mr Bagchi said.
He said the Maldives is India's key neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region and occupies a "special place" in the country's 'Neighbourhood First Policy'.
"In recent years, the partnership has witnessed rapid growth in all areas of cooperation," Mr Bagchi said.
The announcement on President Solih's visit came on a day chief of Maldivian defence forces Maj Gen Abdulla Shamaal held talks with Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande in Delhi.
In March, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, during a visit to Male, had handed over a coastal radar system to Maj Gen Shamaal.
India and Maldives share common perspectives on maritime security issues in the Indian Ocean and have been working together to expand defence cooperation.
In April, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar travelled to the Maldives and met Maldivian President Solih and other senior leaders of the island nation to further boost maritime security cooperation.
Development cooperation has been a key pillar of the India-Maldives relationship with New Delhi providing Lines of Credit of over USD 1.2 billion for infrastructure and grants for community development projects to the island nation.
In August last year, the island nation sealed a contract for the implementation of an India-funded connectivity project, billed as the largest infrastructure initiative being rolled out in the island nation.
Under the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP), a 6.74 km long bridge and causeway link will be built to connect the capital city Male with adjoining islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.
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