Cash-strapped Pakistan on Thursday assured the Maldives of its support to address the “pressing development needs” of the island nation in the Indian Ocean. During a telephone conversation with President Mohamed Muizzu, Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister Anwaar-ul Haq Kakar discussed ways to fortify the bilateral ties between the two nations, the President’s Office said in a press release.

Muizzu has also “been assured of the support of the Pakistani government to address the pressing development needs of the Maldives,” it said.

The two leaders discussed the top priorities for the two countries and spoke about enhancing cooperation in the international arena.

Mr Kakar also conveyed his support and assistance to the Maldives’ efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, the release said.

The Maldives established diplomatic relations with Pakistan on July 26, 1966.

While Pakistan is a close ally of China, President Muizzu is also regarded as pro-Beijing.