Maldives Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid held talks with External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar today on bilateral, regional, and international issues of mutual interest between the two countries.
Abdullah Shahid took part in virtual sessions in the Raisina Dialogue on “Financing for Sun” and “Global Public Health After the Pandemic.”
Maldives is India’s most important maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region, and it plays a key role in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ – Security and Growth for All in the Region.
The visit is expected to give more boost to the close bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious, and commercial links steeped in antiquity. After the Maldives gained independence in 1965, India was one of the first countries to recognise the country and establish diplomatic relations with it.
Defence and security cooperation has been a significant field of cooperation between India and the Maldives since 1988. India has been assisting the Maldives by providing defence training and equipment. The Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF) receives the most training opportunities from India, which meets roughly 70% of their defence training needs.
A comprehensive Action Plan for Defence was also signed in April 2016 for a strong partnership.
The Maldives’ economy is highly reliant on tourism, which is the country’s primary source of foreign exchange earnings and government revenue. In 2018, India was the Maldives’ fifth-largest source of tourist arrivals. India accounted for 6.1 percent (over 90,474) of the total 14,84,274 visitors.
Covid related Assistance- Maldives has been the biggest beneficiary of COVID relief. The country got the 1,00,000 doses of Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India -Covishield as a gift from India.