President of the United Nations General Assembly Abdulla Shahid acknowledged on Monday the important role played by India at the global body, while describing the country as a “source of pride” for not only South Asia, but for all peace-loving democracies.
Acknowledging the pivotal role the country played during the COVID-19 recovery phase, Shahid, who is the foreign minister of the Maldives, underscored that India had proven to be the “pharmacy of the world” and assisted several countries in the remotest parts of the globe.
On a visit to India, Shahid held talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday, covering a range of key issues, including cooperation at the UN.
The UNGA president also called on Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, who congratulated him for his exemplary leadership of the UNGA, especially in the wake of the Covid pandemic and ongoing international conflicts.
“During the meeting, the PGA (President of General Assembly) acknowledged the important role played by India at the United Nations, including at the UN Security Council, where he termed it as a ‘source of pride’ for not only South Asia, but for all peace loving democracies,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
“Acknowledging India’s pivotal role during the pandemic recovery phase, PGA underscored that India had proven to be the ‘pharmacy of the world’ and assisted several countries in the remotest parts of the world,” it said in a statement.
After the talks, Jaishankar said India’s “Neighbourhood First” and the Maldives’ “India First” policies complement each other.
“Glad to meet FM of Maldives and UNGA President @abdulla_shahid. Congratulated him on the achievements of his UNGA Presidency. Working together to advance our special relationship. India’s Neighbourhood First and Maldives’ India First policies complement each other,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.
On his part, Shahid said the discussions touched upon the achievements of the 76th session of the UNGA as well as the importance of multilateralism.
“Always good to meet H.E. @DrSJaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs. Our discussions touched on the achievements of the 76th session of the General Assembly as well as the importance of multilateralism,” he tweeted.
Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra called on Shahid on Sunday and briefed him on India’s priorities in the upcoming UNGA session as well as during India’s remaining tenure at the UNSC.
“Abdulla Shahid’s visit further strengthens India’s multifaceted partnership with Maldives, which occupies a central place in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy,” the MEA said.
The Maldivian foreign minister’s visit to India comes nearly a month after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s trip to New Delhi.
During Solih’s visit, the two sides inked six agreements to expand the overall cooperation in a range of areas such as cyber security, housing and disaster management.
The Maldives is one of India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean region and the overall bilateral ties, including in the areas of defence and security, have been on an upward trajectory in the last few years.