The goal of the lengthy discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday was to strengthen overall bilateral strategic connections, particularly those involving commerce and investment.
A high-level team and Solih arrived in Delhi on Monday for a four-day visit.
The Maldives is one of India’s principal maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean, and overall bilateral ties, particularly those in the fields of defence and security, have been improving recently.
The Maldives’ “India First” policy and India’s “Neighborhood First” policy, according to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, are “complementary” and further the unique alliance. He made this statement following a meeting with Solih on Monday evening.
President Solih will visit Mumbai and take part in commercial activities in addition to his official obligations in New Delhi.
The relationship between India and the Maldives has improved after Solih assumed control of the presidency in November 2018.
President Solih’s inauguration was attended by Prime Minister Modi.
As president, Solih made his first international trip in December 2018 when he travelled to India.
In June 2019, Modi travelled to the Maldives for the first time during his second term as prime minister.
Maj Gen Abdulla Shamaal, the commander of the Maldives’ armed forces, visited India last week.
When visiting Male in March, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar presented the nation with a coastal radar system.
India and the Maldives have been collaborating to increase defence cooperation and share similar views on matters relating to maritime security in the Indian Ocean.
The India-Maldives relationship has a strong foundation in development cooperation, with New Delhi giving the island nation grants for community development projects and lines of credit totaling over USD 1.2 billion (one billion is equal to 100 crores) for infrastructure.
The island government signed a deal in August of last year to carry out a connection project sponsored by India.
A 6.74 km long bridge and causeway link will be constructed as part of the Greater Male Connectivity Initiative (GMCP) project to link the capital city of Male with the nearby islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu, and Thilafushi.
It will purportedly be the biggest infrastructure project in the Maldives, funded by a grant of $100 million and a line of credit of $400 million from India.