New Delhi: It was a very unusual phraseology that was used by Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid on his country’s relationship with India.
After External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar landed at Male, Abdulla Shahid tweeted, “A bird in flight, stays true on course, with not one but two wings in synchronised motion. Our two countries are just like those wings.”
He emphasized in all sincerity – “We work in harmony, we work together, with the same interests, aiming to reach the same destination”.
Dr Jaishankar is visiting the Maldives at the invitation of Shahid. It is his second official visit to the Maldives, following his visit to attend the 5th Indian Ocean Conference in 2019.
India has strongly supported the candidature of Maldives’ foreign minister Abdulla Shahid for President of
the 76th session of the UN General Assembly next year.
Dr Jaishankar said that India would like to work with the Maldives during its membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2021-22.
The Modi government has maintained a very cordial relationship with this Muslim majority country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to any foriegn country in 2019 after general elections was to The Maldives.
In his address to a gathering at the Ekuveni Stadium at Male on Saturday, Feb 20, Dr Jaishankar offered a standalone Line of Credit of $ 40 million for Sports Infrastructure in the Maldives. This new Line of Credit will be signed soon after the formalities are complete, External Affairs Minister said.
“This funding is neither for a specific sport nor for a specific island. It is for multiple sports facilities across
the islands so that a large number of our friends in Maldives can benefit as possible,” said Jaishankar.
The External Affairs Minister will also travel to Mauritius.
He said the India-Maldives bilateral cooperation in sports is of course not new as India has been involved
in coaching Maldivian sportspeople in different games. Many of whom won medals in the last Indian Ocean Island Games and South Asian Games.
“The way our relationship has been strengthened and transformed over the previous two years is frankly quite unprecedented. Ours is an extraordinarily deep partnership in which we have both supported each other in the best traditions of friendship and neighbourliness,” he said.
The ‘India First’ foreign policy of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is reciprocated in full measure by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy in which Maldives enjoys a central position.
Dr Jaishankar also handed over 100,000 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine for Maldives. The two ministers discussed COVID-19 recovery, various projects being undertaken under Indian assistance, and cooperation in multilateral platforms.