MALDIVES STRESS ON “INDIA’S FIRST” POLICY
- Maldives Foreign Minister (FM) Mohamed Asim meet India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and in addition, he meet India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to enhance the relations between India and Maldives.
- Maldives FM is on the three days visit to India.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MEETING
- India First policy: Maldives FM stressed on his country’s policy of “India first” and emphasized that Maldives attached the highest priority to all its ties with India.
- India’s development- He also assured that Maldives would carry various developmental projects in India.
- No harm to India’s interest- The FM reiterated that Maldives would not undertake any activity that can harm India’s interest.
- Invitation to Maldives- The visiting leader extended an invitation to Modi to visit the island nation, PM conveyed his gratitude for the invitation. Maldives is the only country in the South Asian neighbourhood which is not visited by PM Modi.
PM Narendra Modi and Maldives FM Asim discussed ties between the two countries and described India and Maldives as close neighbours who are bound by a shared history, culture and maritime interests in the Indian Ocean.
WHY THE MEETING IS SIGNIFICANT FOR INDIA
- In November last year, Maldives had entered into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China and suspended the meeting of an Indian envoy in Male without prior approval, this led to a strife between the two nation.
- The signing of the China-Maldives FTA raised questions about China’s influence on the archipelago nation, which at located at a strategically important position in the Indian Ocean.
- Since then, India was keeping an eye out on Chinese activities in the region.
It is well understood that as a close and friendly neighbour, Maldives will be sensitive to India’s concerns over peace and security in the Indian Ocean region and the island will keep with its “India First” policy. Asim expressed gratitude to India for its valuable contribution towards the socio-economic development of the island and PM also assured that Maldives will always remain a close friend of India and India would extend its support in the areas of cooperation.