External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during the joint ministerial meeting in Male, Maldives, on Sunday.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during the joint ministerial meeting in Male, Maldives, on Sunday.

India, Maldives exchange agreements on visa facilitation, development cooperation

ANI | Updated: Mar 17, 2019 23:04 IST

Male [Maldives], Mar 17 (ANI): India and Maldives on Sunday exchanged three agreements on visa facilitation for diplomatic and official passport holders, development cooperation, and renewable energy in the presence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid.
Maldives' Foreign Ministry took to Twitter to share the news, saying, "India and Maldives add new dimensions to age-old ties by exchanging 3 agreements in the presence of FM @abdulla_shahid and External Affairs Minister @SushmaSwaraj on visa facilitation for diplomatic and official passport holders, development cooperation, and renewable energy."
During the joint ministerial meeting with Shahid, the leaders also discussed ways to enhance cooperation bilaterally on a variety of issues, including consular issues, capacity development, health cooperation, consular issues, capacity building, trade, investment, economic cooperation and enhancing people-to-people contact.
"The relationship between Maldives and India is indeed special," Shahid said after the meeting was concluded.
Later on, Swaraj also called on Speaker of Parliament Qasim Ibrahim.
The meeting also reviewed the progress made on the commitments announced during the State visit of President Ibrahim Solih to India in November last year.
Swaraj, who arrived in Male on Sunday for a two-day visit to the island nation at the invitation of Shahid, is accompanied by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and other senior officials, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
During her visit, Swaraj is also slated to participate in delegation-level meetings with the Minister of Defence Mariya Ahmed Didi, Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of National Planning and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam, Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Aishath Nahula, Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Yumna Maumoon, Minister of Environment, Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan, and Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail.
On the second day of her visit, Swaraj is expected to call on President Solih and Minister of Home Affairs Sheikh Imran Abdulla.
Swaraj's visit to the Maldives is aimed at strengthening the "close and friendly relations" between the two nations, after ties between New Delhi and Male came under strain during former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen's five-year rule, which saw him cosying up with China for various development projects, cracking down on dissent and imposing a state of emergency by jailing opposition leaders. (ANI)

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