What a privilege to be in front of this distinguished gathering of journalists from India. I’ve never been in front of such a prominent group of media but now.
Thank you for being here this afternoon. I just wanted to say that I have had a very productive visit to India. My first, since taking over office as the President in the Maldives. I made sure that I came to India first because it is symbolic of the very special relationship that we have between Maldives and India. It’s a special friend who we can depend on in good times bad times a like.
During my visit, I have met with the senior leadership in this country. They have assured me of their continued support for Maldives. I have assured them of our continued good relationship with India and also assured that, from Maldives’ side, we will always respect India as a very close friend. We will respect all of our agreements and understandings that we have between the two countries.
I also had an opportunity, during this visit, to explain any of the concerns that the Indian leadership might have with regards to events in the Maldives. I am pleased to note that I had been able to explain to the Indian leadership about understanding of events and also further assistance from India for Maldives.
In this regard, I particularly appreciate the government of India’s patience and understanding with our country. I appreciate India’s willingness to continue to support us, both in advice and also in terms of financial assistance. I very appreciate the continuation of cooperation of development projects with the country.
I have also during this visit, been exploring possibilities for further private sector investments in Maldives. We are particularly focusing at further promotion of tourism between Maldives and India. We do not have nearly as many tourists as we would like, coming to Maldives from this country. It is a huge market, but it is not adequately tapped. I think partly the responsibility is ours to promote tourism here.
Secondly, I am also interested in investments from the IT sector in Maldives and particularly on the kinds of investments that will generate employment for young people. We have a highly literate population. Almost all the people are literate. Most of our children now graduate from high school and have good passes in Cambridge O’ Level Examination. So we have a promising young population, easily trainable and ready to find work.
So, I hope that this visit that we have had here, together with my Finance Minister, Foreign Minister and Housing and Environment Minister, we are able to further strengthen our already very good relationship between the two countries.
I will be happy to answer any questions that you have. I just want to thank my hosts from the government of India, for the excellent hospitality they have provided to me and my delegation.
I am very happy with this visit, and I hope to be able to visit India again in the near future.