The External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, who is currently on a two-day visit to the Maldives, on Sunday met with South Asian country’s Defence Minister Mariya Didi for a “useful exchange” on defence cooperation. In a tweet, EAM also reiterated that India will “always” be a reliable security ally for the Maldives. The External Affairs Minister arrived in the Maldivian Capital on Saturday and was received by Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid as Jaishankar delivered another consignment of 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses as “India’s gift to the government and people of the Maldives” in addition to the previous 100,000 jabs gifted by New Delhi.
Since the beginning of his visit, the EAM has witnessed “the exchange of agreements on a wide range of domains” that India-Maldives are working on jointly, accompanied the Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and Foreign Minister along with Sports Minister Ahmed Mahloof at Ekuveni Stadium, inaugurated Hulhumalé Central Park and the Westside Arrival Jetty with Maldivian FM, had “productive discussions” with South Asian country’s Economic Ministers and witnessed the signing of project execution contract for construction of roads in Addu. Further, Jaishankar also signed a $50 million Defence LoC agreement and the UTF Harbour Project agreement with Mariya Didi.
S Jaishankar also met with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The EAM conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s greetings to Solih and reiterated India’s “fullest commitment” as development partners during the COVID-19 pandemic “and beyond”. The EAM held talks with Maldives Speaker and said it was “as always full of ideas & energy. Told me that building democracy was the big project in the Maldives. And that India is a valuable development assistance partner.”
In the two-day visit, Jaishankar also met with a delegation of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPP) and People's National Congress(PNC) leaders in the Maldives where both sides underlined that “India is a long-standing and reliable partner of Maldives in development & democracy.” Following the meet with EAM, the Maldivian President said that it is “always a pleasure to meet” Jaishankar who the former termed his “friend”. Solih also conveyed his gratitude to PM Modi for the “generous assistance announced during the EAM’s visit including an additional 100,000 doses of Covishied vaccine.”