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Indian Army Chief, Maldivian President discuss defence ties

New Delhi, Oct 2 (udaipur kiran) Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday met Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who hailed efforts to revitalise the bilateral defence cooperation.

Gen Rawat is on a five-day official visit to Maldives since September 29, which is aimed at giving a boost to the bilateral defence ties at a time when China is making aggressive moves to make inroads in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.

The Indian Army Chief discussed with the Maldivian President issues related to the defence cooperation and ways to step it up.

“The Maldivian President, besides hailing Indo-Maldives long-standing friendship, commended the joint efforts of both Armed Forces at enhancing and revitalising the bilateral defence cooperation,” the Indian Army said in a statement here.

On Tuesday, Rawat had met Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid to discuss mutual relations between the two countries and on working out ways to make the Indian Ocean Region a conflict-free zone.

He also handed over a fleet of transport vehicles to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) in order to help it increase its operational capability.

Given the strategic importance of Maldives in the Indian Ocean Region, India has been at the forefront in helping strengthen its armed forces.

In the past, India has supplied helicopters and surveillance equipment to the archipelago nation besides handling its air and EEZ surveillance.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertook his first foreign visit to Maldives in June this year after being re-elected for the second term and, along with Solih, jointly commissioned a Coastal Surveillance Radar System, built in India.

At present, India is also conducting the first-ever training for MNDF Coast Guard officers and personnel in Chennai on a highly versatile indigenously-built Interceptor Boat which it had handed over to Maldives in the past.

The training is being conducted by Coast Guard Regional Headquarters (East).

“This training is a part of International co-operation between the two countries wherein Govt. of India had agreed to handover one Interceptor Boat to the Maldives National Defence Coast Guard,” Defence PRO Chennai tweeted on Wednesday.

–udaipur kiran

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