India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is on a two-day trip to Maldives where he reaffirmed the strength of bilateral ties between the two countries. Jaishankar asserted that India-Maldives ties are full of promises and possibilities. He added that the focus of cooperation between the two countries is the well being of the people of the two countries. “The focus of the engagement is the well-being of our people,” stated Jaishankar. Meanwhile, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said that New Delhi is Mali’s most trusted partner. “Ours is a relationship of mutual respect based on trust and confidence,” said the Maldivian Foreign Minister. Shahid, who is also the President of the United Nations General Assembly, in a Tweet also thanked India for standing in solidarity with the Maldives, and for being its friend and partner throughout the years.
Jaishankar also attended the inauguration ceremony of the National College for Policing & Law Enforcement (NCPLE) at Addu city. Speaking at the event, he said, “This venerable institution has left its imprint in many ways of making modern India. I emphasise that its contribution in the realm of foreign policy has been particularly strong. A score of foreign service officers have passed through its gates over the decade and currently, both the External Affairs Minister (Jaishankar) and Foreign Secretary (Harsh Shringla) have had the privilege of studying here.”
Lauding Maldives for being a trusted ally of India, Jaishankar stated, “Your (Maldives) policy of ‘India First’ and our policy of ‘Neighbourhood First’ are not just phrases but the very fulcrum of India-Maldives relationship.”
The Foreign Minister’s visit to the Maldives comes at a time when the archipelago is witnessing a prolonged anti-India campaign by its former President President Abdulla Yameen. Yameen is well known for his pro-China stance and that is the reason analysts believe that his campaign is backed by China.
Earlier in February, considering its ties with India, the Maldivian government moved a bill in the country’s parliament to combat Yameen’s anti-India campaign. The ‘Bill on combating actions affecting diplomatic ties established between the Maldives and Foreign countries’ was to sought to curb the ‘#IndiaOut’ campaign which accused India of having military presence in Maldives.