The bilateral ties between India and the Maldives were "not broken and cannot be broken" despite the "ups and downs", declared India's Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Monday.
Indian media reported that Swaraj made the remark at her annual press conference, during which she proclaimed that India was both a counsellor and provider of humanitarian assistance to the Maldives.
"Maldives is our neighbour. 'India First' is part of their foreign policy. In ties with Maldives, whichever government has been in power (in India), there have been ups and downs," Swaraj was cited as saying in the Times of India.
"There had been ups and downs in the past, there are (ups and downs) now also. But ties with Maldives are not broken and cannot be broken."
Swaraj's statement comes in the wake of concerns raised by India's Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, who said that the archipelago was currently a "challenge" for India over the growing presence of China in the island nation.
India-Maldives ties became strained after the former criticised the government of President Abdulla Yameen after he imposed a state of emergency in early February, after the apex court issued a shocking ruling to free political prisoners. A number of entities in India have also voiced concern over the deepening ties between the Maldives and China.
However the Maldivian government maintains that bilateral ties with India remain strong, and that its relations with other nations pose no danger to the India-Maldives friendship.