India and Maldives on Tuesday inked six agreements to expand cooperation in several key areas with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that New Delhi has been and will continue to be the "first responder" to any need or crisis facing the island nation.
After wide-ranging talks with visiting Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Modi announced a Line of Credit of USD 100 million (one million = 10 lakh)for the neighbouring country for the completion of development projects in a time-bound manner.
"We also reviewed projects for the construction of 4000 social housing units in Greater Male today. I am happy to announce that we will additionally provide financial support for 2,000 social housing units," he said in his media statement.
"We have also decided to provide an additional line of credit of USD 100 million so that all projects can be completed in a time-bound manner," he added.
The prime minister said the threat of trans-national crime, terrorism and drug trafficking is serious in the Indian Ocean and close India-Maldives ties were vital for peace in the entire region.
He said the India-Maldives partnership is not only working in the interest of citizens of both countries, but it is also becoming a source of peace and stability for the entire region.
India has been and will continue to be the first responder to any need or crisis of Maldives, he said.
The six pacts inked between the two sides will facilitate cooperation in capacity building, cyber security, housing, disaster management and infrastructure development in the Maldives.
"In the last few years, there has been renewed vigour in the friendly ties between India and Maldives. Our closeness has increased," Modi said.
He said despite the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic, the cooperation between the two countries is taking the form of a broad partnership.
In his comments, Solih said both sides reiterated their firm commitment to deal with the threat of terrorism.
"Maldives will remain a true friend of India...Our relations with India will always be of highest priority," he said.