Highlights of visit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Maldives was his first state visit abroad after being re-elected to office. This visit was marked by the signing of six key agreements. Mr Modi was also conferred with the Maldives’ highest honour — the Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen — by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
Following Maldives, Mr. Modi will visit Sri Lanka.
Details of MoU
The Memorandums of Understanding (Mou) covered areas such as hydrography, health, passenger and cargo services by sea, capacity building in customs and civil service training.
A technical agreement on sharing ‘White Shipping Information’ between the Indian Navy and the Maldives National Defence Force was also signed, enabling exchange of prior information on the movement of commercial, non-military vessels.
Mr. Modi and Maldivian President Solih jointly inaugurated a ‘Coastal Surveillance Radar System’ and a training facility of the Maldives National Defence Force, by remote link.
In March 2019, $800 million Line of Credit Agreement was launched for Maldives to achieve sustainable social and economic development.
What are the plans for future?
After the talks, Mr Modi said, the two countries have agreed to start a ferry service between Kochi and the Maldives. He added that the launch of RuPay Card in the Maldives will give a boost to tourism.
Trend in Bilateral Relations
After years of witnessing souring relations during President Abdulla Yameen’s term from 2013-2018, New Delhi and Male reset ties last year after President Solih was elected. Mr. Modi attended President Solih’s inaugural ceremony in Male in November 2018, and President Solih’s first visit abroad, after assuming office, was to India in December 2018.
In April this year, Mr. Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) swept general polls securing an impressive majority in parliament, ahead of Mr. Modi’s own big election win back home. The respective victories are seen as having strengthened prospects for continuity in strong ties, a stark shift from Mr. Yameen’s time when New Delhi grew increasingly concerned over Maldives apparent “China tilt”.
Neighbourhood first policy
While Mr. Modi’s visit is seen as underscoring his government’s “neighbourhood first policy”, President Solih reaffirmed his “India-First Policy”, pledging his government’s “full support towards deepening the multifaceted, mutually beneficial partnership” between India and the Maldives.