Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the media,
It is an absolute pleasure to be here again.
I would like to thank Your Excellency Prime Minister Modi, the Government and the people of India for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation during this visit.
Maldives-India relationship goes beyond diplomacy – our values, our histories and our cultures are intertwined, making it a traditional relationship. Our centuries old relationship has grown with political trust, economic cooperation and coherent strategic polices between our two countries.
We see this visit as an affirmation of the close bond that has grown between us. Our relationship has been nurtured and strengthened by regular contact. I hope that we can strengthen the ties we have with Your Excellency and your country.
The Covid-19 pandemic has not been kind on anyone. Like many other nations we were also forced to fully close our borders for months. The result left both our economy and people in distress. Was it not for the generous assistance received in the form of budgetary support, medical assistance and supplies, and specially the CoviShield vaccine donated by the Government of India, our economic recovery would have been hard and long. The Air Travel Bubble arrangement enabled the flow of economic activity. The undisrupted supplies of essential medicines and commodities to the Maldives, is evident to the strong bond we share.
My Government took office with an ambitious development vision. We appreciate India’s support and generosity towards realising this vision and fulfilling our developmental objectives.
During this visit, the Prime Minister and I took stock of the progress made since we last met and discussed ways in which we can further expand and strengthen our relationship.
The ground-breaking “pouring of the first concrete” ceremony of the Greater Male’ Connectivity Project and the construction of 4000 Social Housing Units that we witnessed today, stand as testimony to the strong partnership. This moment is made even more auspicious with the approval of the Exim Bank of India Buyer’s Credit funding of USD 119 million for construction of another 2000 social housing units in Greater Male’ region. I thank the Government of India for this facilitation.
I would like to thank the Government of India, for facilitating the additional USD 100 million, for the USD 800 million Line of Credit through the EXIM Bank of India, which I am confident will be an added impetus to ensure the timely completion of important development projects, including the cancer hospital in Laamu Atoll Gan and the Hanimaadhoo Airport Expansion Project.
We recognise and thank the Government of India for the continuous support to develop infrastructure and expansion of human resource development. We are pleased to add more agreements in various fields that will contribute to the development agenda, today.
The MoU signed today on cyber security aims to promote closer co-operation and the exchange of information pertaining to the cyber security in accordance with the relevant domestic laws, rules and regulations and based on equality, reciprocity, and mutual benefit.
Investing in skills development is a high priority for my government. Today, we signed important MoUs that will help enhance our human resources and development.
The MoU signed between Local Government Authority, Maldives and the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, India on Capacity Building and Training will build the capacity of members of local councils, women’s development committee and staff of local government authority.
The MoU signed between the National Disaster Management Authority of the Republic of Maldives and the National Disaster Management Authority of the Republic of India, aims to enhance and promote the cooperation in the field of emergency management between our two countries.
The credit line MoU signed between the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Maldives and the Export-Import Bank of India to develop police infrastructure of the Maldives will contribute towards enhancing cooperation between the police service and the public through neighbourhood policing, and ensure the social wellbeing and safety of our communities.
The MoU signed between Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture of the Republic of Maldives and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, under Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India will enable collaboration in potential fishing zone forecast capacity.
In light of the harsh lessons taught by COVID-19, the Prime Minister and I acknowledged that achieving economic resilience is exceptionally important to withstand the shockof unforeseen events. I urge investors from India to seize this opportunity as we work on building back better, to forge meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships with the Maldives.
As such, in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry, we will be organising two interactive business-to-business events in Delhi and Mumbai today and tomorrow,bringing together selected prominent representatives of leading corporations from the Maldives and India.
We welcome the operationalization of Rupay Cards in the Maldives and agreed to consider further measures to boost bilateral travel and tourism and economic inter-linkageswhich could lead to mutual benefit of both countries.
In addition to bilateral matters relating to education, youth and sports, defence and security, fisheries, tourism, health and IT, the Prime Minister and I also discussed international issues of mutual concern.
I congratulated Prime Minister Modi for his initiative and leadership of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), International Solar Alliance and India’s pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. We firmly believe climate action could only be achieved by international cooperation.
Prime Minister and I discussed the issue of terrorism. We both reiterated our firm commitment to the work against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and strengthen cooperation to enhance maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean Region.
I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to Your Excellency and the Government of India for the announcements made today to gift a second Landing Assault Craft and the replacement ship for the CGS Huravee that was gifted from the Government of India to the Maldives National Defence Force. I would also like to express my thanks for the announcement made today to gift 24 utility vehicles from the Government of India to the Maldives National Defence Force.
My government, since assuming office, has been fully committed to giving new heights to the relations between our two countries. Our relationship with India will always be of the highest priority. Mr. Prime Minister, along with my visit to India in 2018, and your visit in 2019, and the recent exchanges of high-level visits have brought a renewed sense of dynamism to our relations.
Mr. Prime Minister, I thank you for the very personal commitment you have shown in being a friend and partner to the Maldives. I wish Your Excellency, and the people of India, peace, progress and prosperity. The Maldives will always remain a true friend of India, firmly committed to our shared vison of peace and development in our countries and our region.