Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra who is on an official visit to the Maldives met President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and assured him of the firm commitment to the growth of India and Maldives relationship.
"Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra called on President @ibusolih and held substantive discussions on #IndiaMaldives relations, including on progress of ongoing development projects. FS assured President Solih of India's firm commitment to the growth of India-Maldives partnership," tweeted Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.
Kwatra also met his Maldivian counterpart Ahmed Latheef and handed over peed launch to the Maldives Correctional Services, under Indian grant assistance.
"FS Kwatra & FS Latheef witnessed the exchange of the USD 100 mn Line of Credit Agreement, announced during the visit of President Solih to India in early Aug 2022, and handing over of a speed launch to the Maldives Correctional Services, under Indian grant assistance. @ForeignSecMV," tweeted Bagchi.
India's "Neighborhood First" policy and Maldives' "India First" policy work in tandem to tackle shared concerns and advance mutual interests.
For India, Maldives has always been a close and important maritime neighbour. Multifaceted ties between the two countries have strengthened despite the pandemic-related disruptions. High-level engagements continued with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar visiting the Maldives in February 2021 and two visits by the Foreign Minister of Maldives to India in April and July 2021.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian counterpart Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had a telephonic conversation in July 2021. Bilateral cooperation with the Maldives includes the creation of people-friendly infrastructure - housing, water and sanitation, health and education, ports, roads and stadiums. It also includes maritime security; connectivity and people-to-people exchanges.
India gifted 200,000 doses of Covishield vaccines to the Maldives in January - February 2021 and this set the stage for a rapid and successful vaccination drive in the Maldives. This has enabled the Maldivian economy to get back on a path to recovery.
India has emerged as Maldives' second-largest trade partner, with around 13 per cent market share for Indian exports. In July 2021, India extended the agreement on quotas for restriction-free export of 9 essential commodities to the Maldives for the next three years.