External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday called on Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih. The two leaders took stock of the progress made in bilateral relations since Solih’s visit to India last year.
“Strong convergence in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ & Maldives’ ‘India First’ policy. EAM @SushmaSwaraj called on President of Maldives @ibusolih in Male. Took stock of the progress made in bilateral relations since President Solih’s State visit to India in December 2018,” tweeted MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
Swaraj also met former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed and the two exchanged views on strengthening bilateral relations.
“Old and cherished friend. In the last engagement of her trip to Maldives, EAM @SushmaSwaraj met former President of Maldives @MohamedNasheed. Exchanged views on strengthening bilateral relations,” Kumar tweeted.
Swaraj, who arrived in Male on Sunday for a two-day visit to the island nation at the invitation of Shahid, is accompanied by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and other senior officials.
During her visit, Swaraj unveiled a plaque of the renovated Indira Gandhi Memorial (IGM) Hospital here.
India and Maldives on Sunday exchanged three agreements on visa facilitation for diplomatic and official passport holders, development cooperation, and renewable energy in the presence of Swaraj and her Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid.
During the joint ministerial meeting with Shahid, the leaders also discussed ways to enhance cooperation bilaterally on a variety of issues, including consular issues, capacity development, health cooperation, trade, investment, economic cooperation and enhancing people-to-people contact.
“The relationship between Maldives and India is indeed special,” Shahid said after the meeting was concluded.
Later on, Swaraj also called on Speaker of Parliament Qasim Ibrahim.
The meeting also reviewed the progress made on the commitments announced during the State visit of President Ibrahim Solih to India last year.
On the second day of her visit, Swaraj is expected to call on President Solih and Minister of Home Affairs Sheikh Imran Abdulla.
Swaraj’s visit to the Maldives is aimed at strengthening the “close and friendly relations” between the two nations, after ties between New Delhi and Male came under strain during former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen’s five-year rule, which saw him cosying up with China for various development projects, cracking down on dissent and imposing a state of emergency by jailing opposition leaders.