Maldives’ foreign minister to arrive in India tomorrow

New Delhi: Maldives’ foreign minister Abdulla Shahid will embark on his maiden official visit to India for three days from November 24-27.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Shahid will arrive in New Delhi on Saturday afternoon (November 24). On November 26, the Maldivian foreign minister will meet his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan.

On the last day of his visit (November 27), Shahid will meet President Kovind before his departure in the evening.

Shahid’s visit assumes significance for India, following the swearing-in of Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih at a ceremony in Male last week, which was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is the first high-level visit from the Maldives after the new government took office.

Before departing for India, Shahid wrote on his Twitter handle that he was looking forward to “very fruitful” meetings, which would give a boost to the bilateral relations between New Delhi and Male.
“Departing to India. I’m looking forward to very fruitful meetings which will further strengthen the ties of friendship and solidarity between our two countries and people,” Shahid tweeted.

The Maldivian Foreign Ministry said that Shahid will be accompanied by Minister of Finance Ahmed Ameer and Minister of Economic Development Uz Fayyaz Ismail.

“Foreign Minister H.E. Mr Abdulla Shahid departs to India on an Official Visit. He will be joined by Minister of Finance H.E. Mr Ahmed Ameer, & Minister of Economic Development H.E. Uz Fayyaz Ismail. The delegation will hold discussions on strengthening #India-#Maldives relations,” the ministry wrote on the micro-blogging site.

Relations between India and the Maldives came under strain during former President Abdulla Yameen’s five-year rule, which saw him cozying up with China for various development projects, cracking down on dissent and imposing a state of emergency by jailing opposition leaders.

During Prime Minister Modi’s day-long visit to the Maldives, Solih briefed the Prime Minister about Maldives’ fragile economic situation. The two leaders discussed ways in which India can continue development partnership, particularly to help the new government in meeting its pledges to the people of the Maldives.

Both the leaders agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean and being mindful of each other’s concerns and aspirations for the stability of the region. They also expressed their unwavering commitment and support for increased cooperation in combating terrorism both within the region and elsewhere, a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs read.