November 12th, 2011
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India Maldive bilateral ties strengthened

Nasheed and Manmohan singhNew Delhi: Security and development is the focus in the India and Maldives bilateral ties. They would sign a Framework Agreement of Cooperation and Development and a memorandum of understanding which will provide the bedrock for joint cooperation in safeguarding each other’s security interests.

India and the Maldives signed agreements relating to combating terrorism, drug trafficking, disaster management and coastal security; on transfer of sentenced prisoners; on cooperation in the field of culture for 2012-2015; construction of 10,000 houses costing $ 40 million; on developing a police training academy; on enhancing ferry services and port development and on upgradation of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Male, which is the referral hospital in The Maldives. The renovation work is expected to be completed in 2013.

The Indian promise to undertake a feasibility study on developing a port north of Male (Kulduffuhsi) at the earliest possible time would mean that Maldives could start development of the northern parts. “I am convinced that the people of the Maldives will benefit immensely from the agreement,” he said.

Later in a joint statement, among other things, the two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation to enhance maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region through coordinated patrolling and aerial surveillance, exchange of information, capacity building and the development of an effective legal framework against piracy.

With pirates having sacked Mahe port in Seychelles and many students who went to Pakistani madrasas coming under the ideological influence of the Salafi ideology, Maldives has integrated its radar network with that of the Indian Navy’s Southern Command and sought more avenues for its students to study in a more secular environment.

In this meeting with Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed a day after the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also announced a $ 100 million credit facility to help the island nation stabilise its fiscal position. The Maldives faces a serious credit crunch and had to allow its currency, the Rufiyaa, to float in a limited band to tide over the crisis.



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