As Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Male on Saturday, Maldives foreign minister Abdulla Shahid told TOI India had a key role to play in the maintenance of peace and stability in the Indian Ocean, and in turn the development and security of the Maldives.
Modi will leave the Maldives on Sunday morning for Colombo and make a brief stop there before returning to Delhi.
My friend, President @ibusolih is an ardent cricket fan, so I presented him a cricket bat that has been signed by #TeamIndia playing at the #CWC19. Commenting on the visit to the Maldives on June 8 and Sri Lanka on June 9, Modi also tweeted, "These visits indicate the importance we attach to the policy of "Neighbourhood First" and will further cement ties with key maritime neighbours".
The bat is signed by all Team India members representing the country in ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
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After having always been at the receiving end of Chinese expansion in the Maldives, India seems to be clawing back some of its earlier influence with the strategically located country.
Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has written to PM Modi saying he wants talks to resolve all reconcilable problems, including the Kashmir issue, a Pakistani media report said on Friday.
Modi said India considers the country as a valued partner with whom it shares deep bonds of history and culture. "With the recent entry into force of the Visa Facilitation Agreement, these people-to-people ties have expanded and strengthened", said the foreign minister, acknowledging India's support to human development and capacity building.
Modi had visited the Maldives last November to attend President Solih's swearing-in but it wasn't a full-fledged state visit.
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This parliament sitting is to begin at 6:45pm on Saturday.
On Sunday, PM Narendra Modi will become the first foreign dignitary to visit Sri Lanka since the suicide attacks by Islamist terrorists on Easter Sunday in April, in which more than 250 persons were killed. The frayed relationship has been repaired under Solih's leadership. It is important for the world community to come together to fight the challenge of terrorism and radicalization, " PM Modi said while addressing a gathering of Maldives lawmakers at its Parliament.
India and Maldives had signed an Action Plan for defence cooperation in 2016 as part of which both sides had drawn up an exhaustive list of defence projects and purchase of defence equipment.
After the exchange of several agreements, the two leaders will remotely inaugurate a coastal surveillance radar system and a composite training centre for the Maldives National Defence Force, two projects with a total value of about US$30 million. Yameen had pledged support to China's "Belt and Road" initiative and China invested in many infrastructure projects in the Maldives.
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