New Delhi's 'Ramazan gift' reaches Maldives; President Solih says India a 'true friend'

New DelhiWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: May 12, 2020, 05:15 PM IST
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The 580 tonnes of essential food items include rice, wheat flour, sugar, yellow dhal, onions and potatoes

Maldives has lauded 580 tonnes of essential food items sent by India onboard INS Kesari to the Indian Ocean country under "Mission Sagar". 

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in a tweet said, "India has been a true friend to the Maldives" and "India’s recent gift of essential food supplies is particularly helpful during these challenging times. Our sincere thanks to PM Narendra Modi and the people of India for their friendship and generosity"

Meanwhile, calling it "India’s “Ramazan gift” to the Maldives", Maldives foreign minister Abdulla Shahid said, "The aid we received today signifies the strong commitment of the Indian government to provide continued assistance to the government and the people of the Maldives. This demonstrates the kindness and generosity of the people of India towards the people of the Maldives".

The 580 tonnes of essential food items include rice, wheat flour, sugar, yellow dhal, onions and potatoes.

Thanking the Indian Navy, Abdulla said,"I wish to also thank the Indian armed forces, and in particular, the Indian Navy, and the commanding officer and crew of INS Kesari for their support in carrying this aid to the Maldives. "

"May this bridge between our countries, connected by the waters of the Indian Ocean, continue to become stronger and stronger," Abdulla added.

Present on the occasion were Maldives Defence minister Uzthaza Mariya Didi, India's High Commissioner to the Maldives Sunjay Sudhir, Chief Executive of Maldives National Disaster Management Authority Hisaan Hassan & Commanding Officer of Indian Navy Ship Kesari Commander Mukesh Tayal.

India has been reaching out to Male to deal with the COVID crisis. Under the operation, Sanjeevani in April Indian Air Force airlifted 6.2 tonnes of medicines to the country held in various cities in India and before that evacuate nine Maldivians out of Wuhan City, China, which was once the epicentre of the pandemic.

The Maldives is the first destination of India's Mission Sagar under which New Delhi will supply medicines and essential food commodities to 4 Indian ocean countries--Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles.

More Indians to be repatriated from Maldives

Indian Navy ship INS Jalashwa will make another voyage to Kochi on 15th May 2020 from Male port but will only carry Indian nationals from Kerala, Lakshadweep.  Air India repatriation flights are being planned from the Maldives to Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai. 

Indian mission in the Maldives said,"This is for Indian nationals, except from Kerala who are being brought back by INS Jalashwa"

INS Jalashwa will be bringing back 700 Indian nationals from  Malè to Kochi on 15 May 2020 which will be during her second sortie.  Jalashwa has already repatriated 698 citizens to India on 10 May during her first sortie.  INS Magar, carrying 202 Indian nationals will be reaching  Kochi later today.