Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed has said India, being the largest democracy in the world, had many lessons to follow for the new democracy of the Maldives.

He made the statement, speaking at the function to formally inaugurate the India-Maldives Friendship Week, jointly organised by the Indian High Commission in the Maldives, India Club of the Maldives and Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to mark the Independence Day of India. The function was held at Iskandhar School, this afternoon. India’s Independence Day is August 15.

Speaking in this regard, the Vice President said “Indian democracy has demonstrated to the world the merits of participatory governance; it has demonstrated tolerance and political pluralism.”

Furthermore, he said he believed that the greatest benefit of democracy was the benefits it bestowed on the people, and in the years since the independence, India has made steady progress in bringing fruits of development to its people.

Speaking on the close relations that exist between the Maldives and India, Dr Waheed said, “Our friendship is based on mutual respect and admiration – respect for the values the Indian democracy upholds and admiration for rich culture and history of India”.

The Vice President noted that the bounds of friendship between the Maldives and India extend to different areas.

He said, “Politically we are one of the strongest allies, economically we have strengthened our relationship over the years, and culturally, our cultures are integrated.”

Vice President Dr Waheed said India was one of the economic superpowers in the world, and India was making great progress, great discoveries and innovation in all areas. Therefore, he said India offers more opportunities to other developing countries, and the Maldives has a unique opportunity to co-operate with India in achieving further development and progress.

In his address, the Vice President extended the greetings of India’s Independence Day to the President, the Prime Minister, the government and the people of India.

After the formal inauguration, Vice President Dr Waheed and his wife Madam Ilham Hussain attended the cultural programmes of India and the Maldives.