Long-term Part­ner­ship

Southasia - - -

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.

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