New Delhi: Maldivian Foreign Minister and President of UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, arrived here on Sunday on an official visit.
"A warm welcome to @UN_PGA and Maldives Foreign Minister @abdulla_shahid on his arrival in New Delhi," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
Shahid is set to meet Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra among others.
The Maldivian Foreign Minister's visit to India comes nearly a month after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's trip to New Delhi.
During Solih's visit, the two sides inked six agreements to expand overall cooperation in a range of areas such as cyber security, housing and disaster management.
The Maldives is one of India's key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and the overall bilateral ties including in areas of defence and security have been on an upward trajectory in the last few years.
Maldives: An increasingly important partnership for India
India for long has been a provider of economic support as well as capacity building assistance to Maldives. It has also acted as a security provider to the island nation with one prominent instance being the coup in 1988.
A stronger bilateral relationship with Maldives is also significant for India to maintain as well as strengthen its leverage over the Indian Ocean Rim states so as to counterbalance the growing Chinese influence in the region and play a much more substantive role in the 21st century global economy.
During his third visit to New Delhi after becoming President in 2018, Maldives’ Ibrahim Mohammed ‘Ibu’ Solih reiterated that ‘India is the highest priority’ for his nation and government.
The two leaders swore by their past commitments to be mindful of each other’s security concerns and also not let their respective territories be used for any activity inimical to the other.
Solih reiterated the nation’s ‘India First’ policy and also appreciated India’s ‘Neighbourhood Policy’, when External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar called on him, earlier. Minister Jaishankar, for his part, recommitted India to strengthening bilateral infrastructure projects.
Ahead of Solih’s visit, India extended the export-ban exemption granted to Maldives and cleared nearly 7,500 tonnes of sugar and 12,750 tonnes of wheat flour to that nation.
(with inputs from PTI)