Male, Jun 8 : India and the Maldives on Saturday pledged to work on the importance of maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region and both sides also agreed to set up a Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, Countering Violent Extremism and De-radicalisation.
A joint statement issued at the end of bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said - the two leaders agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region, and to strengthen coordination in enhancing maritime security in the region, through coordinated patrolling and aerial surveillance, exchange of information, and capacity building.
"The two leaders acknowledged the recent joint exercise Ekatha conducted in April 2019. Both sides agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation on issues of common concern including piracy, terrorism, organised crime, drugs and human trafficking. They agreed to set up a Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, Countering Violent Extremism and De-radicalisation," Prime Minister said.
The two leaders acknowledged the importance of regional cooperation in advancing development, and agreed that both countries would harness the advantages of regional and sub-regional transport and connectivity, renewable energy, education, environment and sustainable development to mutual advantage.The Joint Statement also said both leaders agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of youth and sports, particularly in cricket.
"President Solih thanked the Government of India for its offer to construct a cricket stadium of international standards at Hulhumalé under the Line of Credit, and for its gracious offer for comprehensive development of cricket in the Maldives through professional coaching, playing in Indian tournaments and adequate infrastructure".
While acknowledging training already being provided to Maldivian athletes in India, both leaders also instructed their Ministers to explore cooperation in other sports activities, it said.
The two sides also recognised the need to pursue reform of the main UN bodies, including the revitalisation of the UN General Assembly and expansion of the UN Security Council. President Solih reiterated his country’s support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded and reformed UN Security Council, and for India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat for the year 2020-2021.
Prime Minister Modi congratulated Maldives on submitting its Instrument of Ratification for the Framework Agreement for the Establishment of the International Solar Alliance.
To further enhance close cooperation between both sides, the leaders decided to intensify and increase high level interaction including regular Ministerial and official level visits, the statement said.On his arrival earlier, Mr Modi was greeted at Male airport by Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and also received a ceremonial welcome by President Ibrahim Solih at the Republic Square.
Prime Minister Modi was also conferred with the Maldives’ highest honour given to any foreigner “Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen” during his first bilateral visit to the island nation after the elections.The Prime Minister will travel to Sri Lanka for a day's visit on Sunday. (UNI)