Boosting maritime capabilities of Maldives

MALE, Feb 21: India on Sunday reiterated its commitment to the Maldives’ security and signed a USD 50-million defence Line of Credit agreement with it to boost the maritime capabilities of the strategic island nation, as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with the country’s top leaders to further strengthen bilateral ties and explore new areas of cooperation.

The USD 50-million credit line agreement for defence projects was signed between the Finance Ministry of Maldives and the Export Import Bank of India.

The signing of the agreement took place after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Didi, Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail and Minister of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam.

A Letter of Intent between Fahi Dhiriulhun Corporation and EXIM Bank was also signed during this visit towards extending a credit facility under EXIM Bank’s Buyer’s Credit scheme to support the design and construction of 2000 social housing units in Hulhumale, a joint statement on the visit said.

The External Affairs Minister held a cordial meeting with Defence Minister Didi and reviewed the various facets of defence and security cooperation.

During his meeting with Didi, Jaishnakar said India would always be a reliable security partner for the Maldives.

After their talks, Jaishankar and Didi signed an agreement to develop, support and maintain a Maldives National Defence Force Coast Guard Harbour at Sifavaru (Uthuru Thilafalhu).

“The agreement was signed pursuant to the request Government of Maldives made in April 2013 for support and cooperation of the Government of India to assist the Government of Maldives for enhancing the capability of the Defence Forces of the Maldives in exercising jurisdiction and undertaking maritime surveillance of its Exclusive Economic Zone and islands,” the joint statement said. – PTI