18 January, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar reached Maldives on Wednesday on his fourth visit to the island country after assuming office in 2019. “Delighted to arrive in Maldives for my fourth vi…
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar reached Maldives on Wednesday on his fourth visit to the island country after assuming office in 2019.
“Delighted to arrive in Maldives for my fourth visit as External Affairs Minister. Thank FM @abdulla_shahid for the warm welcome. The synergies of India’s Neighborhood First and Maldives’ India First policies strengthen further,” he tweeted. He was warmly welcomed by Foreign Minister of Maldives Abdulla Shahid.
“Welcome to the Maldives my dear friend @DrSJaishankar! And this time to the northernmost atolls, to bear witness the impact of developmental assistance extended through the ever-reliable #MaldivesIndiaPartnership,” Shahid tweeted.
Prior to this Shahid posted a video on his social media and said that he is leaving for N Maafaru to receive his counterpart.
Taking to Twitter, Shahid wrote,”Leaving HA Dhidhdhoo to N. Maafaru to receive External Affairs Minister of India @DrSJaishankar on his fourth official visit to the Maldives.”
After holding discussions with Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Jaishankar said they reaffirmed the strong development ties between both sides. “Minister and I had a very productive discussion. Before this press conference, we were joined by our delegations as well. The agreement and MoUs that we have exchanged today are reaffirmations of the strong development partnership that we have,” Jaishankar said during a press conference in Male.
Jaishankar is in Male to witness the signing of agreements pertaining to bilateral development cooperation, as well as ground-breaking/inauguration/handing-over ceremonies. He will also unveil a number of significant India-supported initiatives that will help to the Maldives’ socioeconomic growth.
External Affairs Minister said that all Indian projects in the nation conform to the premise of the Indian development cooperation model which focuses emphasis on openness, and competitive pricing.
“Needless to say, all these projects adhere to the basic tenet of the Indian development cooperation approach which is the emphasis on transparency, full participation, ownership of the host country and competitive pricing,” he said.
“I am confident that these projects together will completely transform, the economic landscape of the Maldives,” he added.
Addressing a press conference alongside Abdulla Shahid, Jaishankar also said that both sides reviewed the groundbreaking ceremony of the Hanimaadhoo International Airport Expansion Project, which he described as one of the most anticipated projects in the northern part of the country.
“We have jointly reviewed our infrastructure projects and the groundbreaking ceremony of what is one of the most anticipated projects in the north, the Hanimaadhoo International Airport Expansion Project will be held later this evening. This project once completed will transform the lives and livelihoods of all,” he said.
Jaishankar also talked about the Greater Male Connectivity Project, which he said was another ambitious project in the country.
“Greater Male Connectivity Project is the largest project which has ever been done in this country. We expect it to become an economic corridor, connecting Male with Villingli, the proposed commercial port at Gulhifalhu and the industrial zone at Thilafushi,” he said.
This is Jaishankar’s fourth visit to the Maldives since he assumed office in 2019.