Rajnath Singh hands over Fast Patrol Vessel, Landing Craft Assault ship to Maldives
2 May, 2023 | Pragati Singh
The MNDF Coast Guard ship Huravee was commissioned as the Fast Patrol Vessel, which is capable of high-speed coastal and offshore surveillance.
According to the Ministry of Defence, on the second day of his three-day tour to the Maldives, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh handed over a Fast Patrol Vessel and a Landing Craft Assault ship to the Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF). The MNDF Coast Guard ship Huravee was commissioned as the Fast Patrol Vessel, which is capable of high-speed coastal and offshore surveillance. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi were in attendance.
Rajnath Singh tweeted, “Delighted to handover a Fast Patrol Vessel and a Landing Craft Assault ship to Maldives today. It is a symbol of our shared commitment towards peace & security in the Indian Ocean Region.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives also took to Twitter and said, “Minister @abdulla_shahid attends the handover ceremony of the Offshore Patrol Vessel Coast Guard Ship Huravee and Landing Craft from the Government of #India. Maldives is committed to further strengthening the relationship between and in defence security cooperation.”
Rajnath Singh, speaking at the event, highlighted the handover of the two ‘Made in India’ platforms as a sign of India and the Maldives’ combined commitment to peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). According to an official announcement from the Ministry of military, he noted that India, via a robust military ecosystem, has greatly strengthened its industrial capabilities to further support the capacity building of partner countries.
“India has emerged as a leading defence exporter in recent years. A defence manufacturing ecosystem has been created which has the advantage of abundant technical manpower. We produce world-class equipment to meet not only our own needs but also for exports. India offers an enhanced defence partnership to friendly foreign countries, that is accommodative of their national priorities and capacities. We wish to create symbiotic relationships where we can learn from each other, grow together and create a win-win situation for all. India’s commitment to support the Maldives will only get stronger with time,” the Defence Minister said.
Rajnath Singh stated that India’s strong security cooperation with the country stems from the twin objectives of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region). He recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s June 2019 visit to the Maldives, during which he stated, “‘Neighbourhood First’ is our priority, and in the neighbourhood, ‘Maldives is priority.”
The Defence Minister called for enhanced cooperation among nations in the IOR to address the common challenges faced by the region. “The Indian Ocean is our shared space. The primary responsibility for peace, stability and prosperity in the region rests with those who live in the region. Peace and security of a region are best secured with cooperation and collaboration of the regional players,” he said.
The most significant common concerns faced by the IOR, according to Rajnath Singh, are sustainable resource utilisation and climate change. He urged cooperation to ensure that the Indian Ocean’s maritime breadth remains calm and that its resources are fully utilised for regional prosperity. “Sustainable exploitation of maritime resources is an important means for sustained growth and development of nations across the IOR,” he said.
Climate change, according to the Defence Minister, has a significant impact on the maritime environment and can offer hurdles to achieving national and regional goals. Noting that the Maldives is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, he expressed India’s desire to collaborate with its neighbour on adaptation and mitigation.
“India has been the first responder in a large number of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) requirements in the region in the past many years. We look forward to building upon each other’s expertise by collaborative engagement,” he said.
Rajnath Singh has already met with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. There was discussion on ongoing initiatives and measures to deepen defence ties. The Maldivian President expressed gratitude for India’s continuous help and support to the Maldives in numerous sectors, calling it evidence of New Delhi’s special care for the country.
He also expressed the Maldives’ determination to strengthen this cooperation. According to a Defence Ministry announcement, the Defence Minister discussed the status of several developmental initiatives undertaken by India in the Maldives and vowed continuing support. Rajnath Singh arrived in Male on Monday and met with his Maldivian colleague, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, on the opening day of his visit.