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PM Modi addresses Maldivian Parliament; Says ‘Neighborhood First’ is India’s priority

Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to address the Maldivian Parliament called People’s Majlis.

Congratulating Maldives for the return to democracy Prime Minister Modi said India has and always will stand by the nation in its time of need. PM said that ‘Neighborhood First’ is our priority.

He added that relations between India and Maldives are older than history. From time immemorial, blue waters have washed the shores of both the countries.

He also emphasized the need for an international treaty to deal with terrorism which is a big threat to humanity. Prime Minister also appealed for a time bound Global Conference and a comprehensive system on the lines of Climate change to tackle terrorism.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih held wide-ranging talks on Saturday as the two countries signed six agreements to bolster their special relationship and bilateral cooperation in key areas like defence and maritime security.

A coastal surveillance radar system and a composite training centre for the Maldives defence forces were also jointly inaugurated by the two leaders. Both countries also agreed to launch a ferry service connecting the two countries as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih emphasised the need to improve connectivity.

Boosting India-Maldives ties with a focus on people to people and strategic connect. This sums up PM Modi’s visit to Maldives, the first bilateral visit by any Prime Minister since 2011.

PM Modi and President Solih held delegation level talks. 6 agreements were inked as an outcome. These include an MoU for co-operation in Hydrography, Co-operation in Health, setting up passenger & cargo services by sea, Customs Capacity Building, training for Maldivian civil servants and a technical agreement on sharing white shipping information.

The two countries have also agreed to start a ferry service between Kochi and the Maldives. The emphasis once again was on strengthening people to people connect. Cricket diplomacy too was on display. Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted President Solih an an ardent cricket fan, with a cricket bat that signed by Team India playing at the Cricket World Cup 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Solih  jointly inaugurated two defence related projects – a coastal surveillance radar system and composite training centre for Maldives National Defence Forces, strengthening defence ties. This is in keeping with PM Modi’s Sagar or security and growth for all in the region doctrine. Maldives holds great strategic importance for India.  Later addressing the People’s Majlis Prime Minister Narendra Modi elaborated on the importance  of the Indo-Pacific region.

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