Foreign Secretary Kwatra, Maldives Defence Minister Discuss Ways To Bolster Cooperation

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra on Monday met Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Didi in Male during which they discussed ways to further boost defence cooperation between India and the strategically located archipelagic state in the Indian Ocean.

Kwatra, who concluded a three-day official visit to the Maldives on Monday, handed over 24 utility vehicles of a diverse range acquired under India's grant aid to the Maldives National Defence Force.

Their "discussions focused on further boosting Maldives India defence cooperation,” the Maldives' Defence Ministry tweeted on the talks between Didi and Kwatra.

It said the minister thanked India for the unwavering support and assistance to enhance capabilities of the Maldives National Defence Force and the defence sector.

Both acknowledged the vibrancy in India-Maldives comprehensive defence partnership.

At a special ceremony held at the Ministry of Defence, Foreign Secretary Kwatra handed over 24 utility vehicles of a diverse range acquired under India's grant aid to the Maldives National Defence Force.

The "minister thanked the Govt & people of India for the unconditional, generous support to their neighbour the Maldives ‘at all times’,” the ministry said in another tweet.

"India remains committed to building the capacity and readiness of our security forces. Defence and security cooperation - a key pillar of the Maldives-India Partnership,” the foreign ministry said in a separate tweet.

"Delivering on our commitment towards capacity building of the @MNDF_Official, Foreign Secretary handed over 24 utility vehicles to augment the general transportation requirements of the MNDF,” the High Commission of India in Maldives tweeted.

On Sunday, Kwatra called on Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and held substantive discussions on bilateral relations, including on progress of ongoing development projects in the island nation.

The foreign secretary assured President Solih of India’s firm commitment to the growth of India-Maldives partnership.

Kwatra on Sunday also paid a courtesy call on Mohamed Nasheed, the Speaker of the People’s Majlis - Parliament.

"In his call on Speaker H E @MohamedNasheed, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra acknowledged his long-standing support to the India-Maldives relations,” the High Commission of India in Maldives tweeted.

"Both noted the comprehensive nature of our bilateral development cooperation, which has brought concrete benefits to the people,” it added.

Kwatra also held talks with his Maldivian counterpart Ahmed Latheef on Sunday during which they reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral cooperation and witnessed the exchange of the USD 100 million Line of Credit agreement.

"Both sides positively assessed the robust growth in our bilateral ties and discussed ways to further build on the momentum,” the MEA spokesman said.

Economic Development Minister Fayyaz Ismail and Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer also met with Foreign Secretary Kwatra on Sunday and discussed cooperation between the two countries and potential areas for further development and collaboration.

The foreign secretary left Male after concluding his three-day visit which was focussed on strengthening bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest.