Thu, 05 Oct 2023

New Delhi [India], June 2 (ANI): Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan is scheduled to visit Maldives on June 3-4.

This will be the first visit of the MoS to the Maldives.

During his visit, Muraleedharan will visit Addu City, the second largest city in Maldives where he will participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of the Gan International Airport, according to a ministry of external affairs.

He will also take part in the ceremony for the commencement of works of the Addu Reclamation project.

In Addu, MOS will also inaugurate High Impact Community Development Projects, built under India's grant assistance.

During the MOS would meet with the leadership of Maldives. The visit will also see the signing of agreements related to the bilateral development cooperation in Maldives.

Maldives is India's key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and occupies a special place in the Prime Minister's vision of 'SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the 'Neighbourhood First Policy'.

This visit is expected to lend further momentum to substantive cooperation and robust people-to-people ties between the two countries.

Notably, both India and China are racing to establish strong bilateral ties with Maldives. Both nations continue to exercise their influence in the Maldives, particularly under the presidency of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who assumed office in 2018.

The Solih administration pursued an "India-first" policy, and India committed over USD 2.71 billion (30.7 billion Maldivian rufiyaa) to various projects in the country.

On May 1, this year Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh reached Maldives on a 3-day official visit at the invitation of his Maldivian counterpart, Mariya Ahmed Didi, where they held bilateral delegation-level talks to further strengthen the defence and security partnership. India also handed over a fast patrol vessel along with an assault landing craft to the Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF) in a formal ceremony on May 2, 2023. (ANI)

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