Maldives' foreign minister assures Narendra Modi of close ties with India

Maldivian Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim with Sushma Swaraj on Thursday. Credit Twitter/@MEAIndia

Maldivian foreign minister Mohamed Asim with Sushma Swaraj on Thursday. Credit Twitter/@MEAIndia

Asim's remarks, as articulated by the Indian side, assumes significance since there has been a diplomatic tussle between the two countries in the last two months over the Free Trade Agreement with China and suspension of elected officials for meeting the Indian envoy in Male without prior approval.

A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said the discussions centred around strengthening of the development partnership between India and the Maldives and enhancing defence and security cooperation.

In a bid to reassure India after fresh strains were reported in the Indo-Maldivian ties following growing proximity between the Maldives and China, visiting Maldives foreign minister Dr Mohamed Asim met both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi during which the senior Maldivian minister "emphasised that Maldives attached the highest priority to its ties with India".

(Updating with details) New Delhi, Jan 11 (PTI) The Maldives today assured the Indian leadership of its India first policy - an affirmation which comes amid chill in bilateral ties over a host of issues, including the signing of an FTA between the Maldives and China. Both developments had irked India and prompted Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to raise India's concerns with the Maldives envoy in Delhi. Prime Minister Modi assured that the Maldives has, and will always remain, a close friend of India.

Sources said the Maldivian foreign minister reiterated that his country would not undertake any activity which would harm Indian interests and it would also be conveyed that the country was "sensitive" to India's concerns over peace and security in the Indian Ocean region.

In the case of the Maldives, the atoll nation had described its foreign policy as giving India primacy, billing it an "India first" policy.

During his call on, the special envoy also emphasised that the Maldives attached the highest priority to its ties as close neighbours bound by shared history, culture and maritime interests in the Indian Ocean.

Asim also reiterated Yameens invitation to the prime minister to visit the Maldives. "Asim is also said to have discussed with his Indian counterpart Maldives" recent FTA with China.

"Prime Minister conveyed his gratitude for the invitation and agreed to the visit at a suitable time", the PMO statement said.

Modi has not visited the Maldives, the only country in the South Asian neighbourhood which he has not been visited.

Altre Notizie