Indian External Affairs Minister to visit Maldives this week

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih with Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs | Photo: Presidents Office

Malé, Maldives – Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that the Indian External Affairs, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will make an official visit to Maldives from 20-21 February 2021.

Foreign Ministry stated that the purpose of the visit is to review progress on bilateral cooperation, and discuss the implementation of key developmental projects under the Indian Lines of Credit extended to the Maldives. Some projects undertaken with the support of Indian grants will also be inaugurated during this visit.

According to the announcement, several Memorandums of Understanding and Agreements are to be signed after Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Maldivian Foreign Minister, Abdulla Shahid’s meeting on February 20, 2021.

In addition to this, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will also call on the President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed, and meet with the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Economic Development, and the Minister of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure.

This is the External Affairs Minister’s second visit to the Maldives, since assuming office in May 2019. His first visit was in September 2019, to participate in the Indian Ocean Conference held in the Maldives.

After the current government took office, Indian support through various projects has been seen all around the Maldives and specially during the pandemic. India has also announced a USD500 million package for the Male’-Thilafushi bridge which is in it’s preliminary stage right now. In addition to this, seven projects through Indian credit lines are to commence as well.

During the worst time of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, India continuously assisted the Maldivian government in providing necessary food and medicine supplies and has promised to maintain a steady flow of basic necessities. Indian government also sent a team of doctors in March of this year to assist in the Covid-19 preparedness followed by 11.7 tonnes of medicines in April and May.

Maldives has also received 100,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine from India this year. The Covishield, which is manufactured by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, in collaboration with the Oxford University of the United Kingdom, unlike many other Covid-19 vaccines, does not require extreme cold temperatures for it to be stored, which makes the jab ideal for a tropical island nation like the Maldives.