Your Excellency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;
I’m honoured to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, in celebrating another notable day in the Maldives-India relationship. My heartfelt appreciation to you, Prime Minister, for your personal commitment to further strengthening the very strong relationship between the Maldives and India.
It is my pleasure to be here at this event to witness this exchange of agreements between the Governments of Maldives and India.
Both our countries are connected by the vast Indian Ocean. And over the years, preserving the safety and security of the ocean has brought us closer. The in-shore patrol vessel, Coast Guard Ship Kaamiyaab, that was gifted today by the Indian Government, to the Maldives Coast Guard, will become a valuable asset in the Coast Guard’s ability to protect our maritime borders and respond quickly to any situation that arise.
Mr. Prime Minister,
My government is committed to delivering people-centred growth that is inclusive and sustainable. One that delivers development to all the islands of the country. The MOUs on establishing fish processing plants in Addu, which were signed today, address a key pledge of my Government. The MOUs will contribute towards fetching better prices for fish, increasing fish purchase and processing capacity, and providing employment opportunities, which will in turn enhance household incomes. We appreciate India’s support towards realising these aims.
In the past year, we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of Indian visitors to the Maldives. With the introduction of the Rupay Card here in the Maldives, our Indian visitors will be able to make payments in their own currency, and we are confident, that the number of incoming visitors will continue to grow.
The Maldives and India agree on the urgent need to address the global threat posed by climate change. We, with the other island countries, are committed to working towards “climate smart resilient islands” – a plan that seeks to utilise natural solutions, promote innovation and leverage new technologies to build the resilience of our communities. A key area of this plan, is the transition to renewable energy – the key focus of our agreement with the Indian company Energy Efficiency Services Limited, which was signed earlier this year, in March 2019. We are pleased with the progress made under this MOU, in providing energy efficient lights for all the streets in Malé. These efforts, though they may seem small, contribute in a big way, towards the larger goals of energy efficiency, and reducing our carbon footprint.
Mr. Prime Minister,
My Government has always attached the highest priority to our relationship with India. And we are heartened to see the renewed dynamism in our age-old ties. I have every confidence that the relations between our two countries will continue to flourish in the days ahead.
The essence of our renewed commitment to further strengthen our bilateral, economic and cultural ties is the strong political will of both our Governments.
I am happy to note that these agreements are occurring within a broader context of the Maldives’ deeper and more frequent diplomatic engagement with not only India but with the Indian Ocean Region as a whole. As one of the newest members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association – or IORA - the Maldives is interested in having a greater voice in regional affairs. I look forward to working with the Indian government in the near future to strengthen regional collaboration towards maritime security and commercial prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region.
I express my gratitude once again, Prime Minister, for facilitating these important agreements. I look forward to exploring even further avenues to strengthen the bilateral ties between India and the Maldives in the near future.