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Maldives requests India to construct cricket stadium; New Delhi, Male reaffirm ties

The Maldives flag. Photograph:( WION )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 18, 2019, 02.37 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

India and the Maldives have reaffirmed their ties with Male emphasising its 'India First' policy. New Delhi, on the other hand, reiterated its commitment to the Indian Ocean island nation.

The Maldives also requested Indian assistance for the construction of a cricket stadium which New Delhi is looking into. India recently gifted LED bulbs and LED street lights for the city of Malé. 

Remember, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is on a 2-day trip to the Maldives. This is the first full-fledged bilateral visit at the political level from India after Maldives' new government took office in November 2018. 

In a joint statement, Maldives' foreign minister Abdulla Shahid "reiterated his Government’s India-First Policy and said that his government looks forward to working closely with the Government of India on all issues."

Maldives government also said that the country would remain sensitive towards India’s security and strategic concerns. 

India said that it attaches the "highest importance to its relationship with the Maldives, which is marked by trust, transparency, mutual understanding, and sensitivity."

External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, said that in line with the "Government of India’s 'neighbourhood first' policy, India stands ready to fully support the Government of the Maldives in its socio-economic development."

Both sides have agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean region and strengthening coordination in enhancing regional maritime security. 

The Maldives is a key country in the Indian Ocean region and lies in the heart of busy shipping lanes connecting Africa and Asia.

The Maldives has also announced that it will provide land in Hulhumalé Island in the north Maldives for the Indian Embassy. Male has also expressed support to India's candidature for the permanent membership of the UN Security Council and for a non-permanent seat for the year 2020-21. 

During Swaraj's visit, three agreements were signed - Exemption from Visa Requirement for Holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports, Indian Grant Assistance for Implementation of High Impact Community Development Projects and Collaboration in the Field of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. 

PM Modi was present during the swearing-in ceremony of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the Maldives last year. After assuming office, Solih had visited New Delhi. 

Story highlights

India said that it attaches the 'highest importance to its relationship with the Maldives, which is marked by trust, transparency, mutual understanding, and sensitivity.'