Male’, October 11, 2015; Minister of External Affairs of India, Her Excellency Ms Sushma Swaraj visited the Maldives from 10-11 October on the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Her Excellency Dunya Maumoon. During the visit, H.E. Ms. Sushma Swaraj paid a courtesy call on His Excellency President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and also had separate meetings with Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon, Minister of Economic Development Mr. Mohamed Saeed, and Minister of Health Ms. Iruthisham Adam.
During the visit the External Affairs Minister led the Indian Delegation at the 5th Session of Maldives-India Joint Commission, which was held on 11 October 2015 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ms. Dunya Maumoon, headed the Maldivian delegation.
The Joint Commission was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere reflective of the close collaboration that exists between the two countries.
The two sides acknowledged that 50 years of formal relations have manifested in excellent ties of friendship and partnership. Both sides also highlighted that the Ministerial and official level interactions complementing the Heads of State level engagement, are a manifestation of the paramount importance placed by the two countries on advancing the historically close bilateral relations between the two countries.
During the meeting, Foreign Minister Dunya noted that the Maldives and India share a close and historic partnership based on civilizational ties and mutual respect. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj noted that her visit coincides with two momentous occasions; the fiftieth anniversary of Maldives independence and 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the Maldives and India.
During the discussions, both Ministers also highlighted the expansion in bilateral engagements between the two countries in different sectors.
The two sides reviewed defence cooperation and acknowledged that the joint exercises were useful in developing inter-operability between the forces and agreed to increase the scope and number of these exercises. Both sides also agreed to coordinate efforts in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence sharing, and capacity building.
Both Ministers also highlighted education and human resource development as key areas of cooperation between Maldives and India and agreed to further enhance cooperation to build capacities in the Maldives at school and university levels and also in skill development and vocational training.
Both Ministers also welcomed the growing cultural engagement and people-to-people interaction between the two countries. Two sides also expressed their appreciation for the hospitality provided by both counties for a large number of citizens residing in each other's countries.
Reviewing the economic cooperation between the two countries, both sides acknowledged the positive impact of building partnerships and increasing interactions within the business communities of Maldives and India. Both sides also agreed to work towards building closer economic cooperation in sectors such as food security, fisheries development, tourism, transportation, information technology, new and renewable energy and communications. The Maldivian side also agreed to hold the next edition of the Maldives Investment Forum in India in 2016 with the objective to showcasing projects to Indian investors.
Both sides welcomed the signing of the MoU on Cooperation in the field of Health in 2014, which provides a wide framework to address specific short, medium and long term needs of the Maldivian health sector, including recruitment of medical doctors and allied health professionals. The Maldivian side also thanked the Government of India for the continuing contribution for the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).
The two Ministers acknowledged the Joint Commission as an important mechanism to monitor, review progress, and provide guidance for the implementation of the cooperative programmes agreed by the two countries. It was agreed that the Joint Commission would be held biennially, with the next session scheduled to be convened in 2017.
Following the conclusion of the Fifth meeting of the Maldives – India Joint Commission, both Ministers signed the agreed minutes of the meeting.
Two MOUs were also signed between the Government of Maldives and the Government of India today. The MOU on Cooperation between the Foreign Service Institutes of Maldives and India and MOU on Cooperation on Sports and Youth Affairs were signed by H.E Dr. Ali Naseer Mohamed, Foreign Secretary of Maldives and H.E Dr. S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary of India.
H.E. Ms. Sushma Swaraj departed this afternoon after conclusion of her two-day official visit to the Maldives.