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President Solih reaffirms India-first policy

Mariyam Malsa
08 June 2019, MVT 20:12
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (R) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hold joint press conference during the latter's first state visit to Maldives on June 8, 2019. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
08 June 2019, MVT 20:12

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Saturday, reaffirmed the government's 'India-First Policy' in his joint press statement with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held during the latter's ongoing state visit to Maldives.

In response, PM Modi stressed the importance India attached to its diplomatic relationship with Maldives and expressed his determination to cooperate with the country in order to realize his vision of inclusive development as per his motto 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwaas' which translates into 'together with all, for development of all and with trust of all'.

Highlighting India's 'Neighbourhood First' policy, the Prime Minister also assured full support to Maldives in achieving aspirations for broad socio-economic development as well as strengthening democratic and independent institutions.

Furthermore, PM Modi commended President Solih on his commitment to attaining inclusive, just, decentralized and people-centric governance in addition to sustainable development.

Both leaders also deliberated regarding numerous agreements previously arranged between the relevant institutions in India in Maldives. President Solih expressed immeasurable gratitude to India for its assistance, stressing the role of Indian aid in fulfilling his pledges and improving the socio-economic well-being of Maldivians.

Additionally, President Solih pledged to enhance the multifaceted, mutually beneficial partnership between India and the Maldives, which he described as being traditionally characterized by trust, transparency, mutual understanding and sensitivity.

The ongoing state visit is Modi's first overseas visit after being chosen for a second term in the Lok Sabha elections in May. The Indian PM was received at Velana International Airport (VIA) by Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid and officially welcomed at Republic Square, where Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) fired a 21-gun salute in honour of the visit.

During the course of Prime Minister Modi's visit, Maldives and India signed several Memorandums of Understanding, including commitments to cooperate in the fields of Hydrography, Health and Customs Capacity Building as well as an agreement to establish passenger and cargo shipping ferry services between the port of Cochin and Kulhudhuffushi, Haa Dhaalu Atoll.

A technical agreement on sharing white shipping information between the Indian Navy and MNDF was also signed.

The prime minister is scheduled to depart early Sunday.

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