On his recent visit to the Maldives, India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna held wide ranging talks with Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed and his counterpart Ahmed Naseem. The two sides agreed to increase commercial relations and discussed cooperation in defense and maritime sectors.
Discussing a host of issues of mutual interest, the ministers focused on connectivity, including shipping and air, between India and Maldives.
The Indian delegation also held a thorough round of talks on the issue of piracy with the Maldivian leadership where both countries emphasized the need for a joint endeavor to fight the menace.
A ferry service would soon be launched to connect Kochi in Kerala to the Maldivian capital of Male, as part of efforts by India and Maldives to improve connectivity between the two countries.
Besides augmenting sea connectivity, a daily direct flight between Mumbai and Male has also been finalized. The proposal has been mooted to explore the vast opportunities in the tourism sector between the two countries.
Agreements to further strengthen bilateral relations will be signed when the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives in Maldives for 17th SAARC Summit to be held in the city of Addu this November. The Indian government has granted $5 million (Rf77.1 million) to Maldives for the preparations of the SAARC Summit.