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SOURCE : IANS

In a gathering with Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer, Commanding in Chief, Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy on Sunday, the Maldives Foreign Affairs minister Abdulla Shahid not solely mirrored on the “historically strong bilateral relations” between the 2 international locations, significantly within the discipline of defence and safety cooperation, but in addition mentioned intimately the “emerging security threats” within the area.

Held on the Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the assembly noticed Shahid reaffirming his authorities’s dedication to concentrate on strengthening maritime security and safety within the Indian Ocean and likewise acknowledging the “important role” performed by the Indian Armed Forces in enhancing and creating the capability of the Maldives National Defence Force.

“Delighted to meet with Vice Admiral A.K. Chawla, Flag Officer, C-in-C, Southern Naval Command of Indian Navy today. Discussed importance of cooperation between countries in maintaining peace & security in the Indian Ocean Region, especially in light of emerging security threats,” the minister tweeted after the assembly.

Shahid was accompanied by the nation’s Foreign Secretary, Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed and Joint Secretary, India Division, Mariyam Midhfa Naeem on the assembly.

Building bridges of friendship, Indian Navy’s elite marine commandos unit MARCOS have held joint coaching workouts with the strategically situated neighbour since 2017, contributing to the capability constructing of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Marines and enhancing the interoperability of the forces.

Vice Admiral Chawla additionally paid a courtesy name on Maldives Defence Minister Mariya Didi following the top of the Exercise Ekatha who appreciated the assist offered by the Indian Navy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, enterprise the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance and in direction of coaching of the MNDF personnel.

Thanking the Indian Armed Forces for the continued assist rendered to MNDF, Maldives’ Chief of Defence Force, Major General Abdulla Shamaal additionally deliberated on enhancing maritime safety cooperation and different key areas of army cooperation throughout his assembly with the highest Indian Navy officer.

India leads maritime safety efforts

A key maritime neighbour within the Indian Ocean Region, Maldives continues to occupy an vital place in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ coverage and the ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All within the Region) imaginative and prescient of the Narendra Modi authorities.

In pursuit of its precedence of progress and improvement, or ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’, the Indian authorities is repeatedly working to extend the momentum and power within the bilateral relationship which has “reached unprecedented levels” below the management of PM Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

In May, New Delhi introduced the opening of a brand new Consulate General in Addu City to assist increase India’s diplomatic presence in Maldives and make it commensurate with the present and aspired degree of engagement.

A month earlier than that, within the first assembly of the ‘Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, Countering Violent Extremism and De-Radicalisation’, either side had reviewed threats posed by terrorist entities which can be below UN sanctions and emphasised the necessity for concerted motion towards all terrorist networks.

India had additionally performed a key function within the Maldives candidate, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, profitable the election to the publish of the President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, final month. The victory meant that the Maldives might be solely the sixth President from a Small Island Developing State, presiding over the UN General Assembly within the historical past of the United Nations.

With two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments and half of all container ships passing by its waters, Maldives stays a geo-strategically vital nation, particularly with the rising presence of China within the Indian Ocean Region.

With maritime safety turning into probably the most urgent subject, India has not solely conveyed its unwavering assist and help to Maldives, but in addition led discussions on points pertaining to cooperation amongst Indian Ocean international locations at engagements just like the ‘Indian Ocean Region Defence Ministers Conclave 2021’ held in Bengaluru earlier this 12 months and the revived ‘NSA-level Meeting on Trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation’, organised after a spot of six years, in Colombo final November.