In order to maintain peace in the Indian Ocean region, India and its southern neighbor the Maldives enhanced their strategic relationship on Tuesday by signing six pacts and a flurry of agreements in a variety of fields, including cyber security and defence. At the summit held here, the two parties also decided to expand their counterterrorism alliance.
Additionally, India announced a fresh $100 million line of credit to support Maldives infrastructure initiatives. The Maldives government asked for this additional LOC to pay for the increased costs of ongoing projects that are being considered under current GoI LOCs. Additionally, it will permit the integration of more projects.
The Maldives and India agreed to cooperate more closely to combat “transnational crimes and terrorism” in the Indian Ocean by signing a cyber security agreement.
“The Indian Ocean region has a significant risk of terrorism, drug trafficking, and transnational crime. Therefore, a collaboration between India and the Maldives in this area is essential to upholding regional peace and stability. The Maldives’ security officials have had their training and capabilities increased as a result of our increased collaboration in this area, according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments to the media following the Summit.
President Ibrahim “Ibu” Solih and Modi spoke to the media after signing six agreements, and during their remarks, President Solih thanked India for providing the Maldives National Defence Force with a landing craft and utility vehicles as well as assistance in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, Solih reaffirmed his commitment to battling terrorism in “all its forms and manifestations.”
After both parties signed agreements covering topics like women and child development, disaster management, and infrastructure development, Solih stated, “The MoU signed today on cyber security aims to promote closer cooperation and exchange of information pertaining to cyber security in accordance with our domestic laws, rules, and regulations and based on equality, reciprocity, and mutual benefit.”
The Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP), which would comprise a 6.74 km bridge and a causeway connecting the capital Male with other islands, was also completed with remote participation from Modi and Solih. India is providing the $500 million project with funding.
The “primary priority” of the Maldives, according to Solih, is India, and the two countries’ relationship “goes beyond diplomacy.” It is a traditional partnership because of the connected nature of our values, cultures, and history. Political trust and commercial ties have grown our centuries-old friendship.
India has declared that it will give a second landing assault craft to the Maldives National Defence Force in order to boost that nation’s marine capabilities. Solih expressed gratitude to India for giving the Maldives National Defence Force twenty-four utility cars.
The Maldives was one of the first countries to get the Covishield vaccination, and the dignitary in attendance expressed gratitude for the assistance given to his nation in fighting the pandemic by India.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has not been nice to anyone. Like every other country, we had to completely block our borders for several months. As a result, our economy and population are in trouble. Our economic recovery would have been difficult and protracted if it weren’t for the kind assistance we received in the shape of financial support and the Covishield vaccine supplied by India, according to Solih.
The president of the Maldives praised India for putting the Rupay card into use and said that both nations will strengthen their ties in areas including fisheries, education, health tourism, and infrastructure for disaster resilience.
Despite mentioning the need for peace and stability in the Indian Ocean area, the two leaders made no mention of the Sri Lankan situation.
Solih thanked PM Modi for his “personal dedication” to fostering relations between the two countries and vowed that “The Maldives would remain a loyal friend of India, firmly committed to our common vision of peace and development in our countries and our region.”