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Maldives prez asks for regional strength from India

world Updated: Jan 02, 2014 14:42 IST
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Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday on his first official visit after assuming office in November, said on Thursday that his country is looking to India's leadership to resolve pressing regional issues.

Gayoom, who was accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday, said he was looking forward to gaining regional strength from India as also in global politics and international relations.

"We are looking at regional strength from India and also in global politics and international relations we look up to India's leadership. India and Maldives common people, we have a common destiny. So, we believe it is under Indian leadership that we will be able to seek salvation from poverty and difficult situation we have in this part of the world," he added.

Gayoom also spoke about the common bonds and understanding between India and Maldives on international issues.

"I hope to achieve substantive progress as far as India Maldives relationship is concerned. Foreign policy, domestic policy, areas of interest like maritime security, we have very strong bond with India and our understanding on international matters as far as these issues are concerned, we have common understanding," Gayoom said.

Gayoom will hold delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later on Thursday.

He will also discuss key bilateral and regional issues with the Indian leadership amid assertions by New Delhi that the visit will enhance ties.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the visit would provide an opportunity to further enhance the close and multifaceted relations between India and the Maldives.

Gayoom's visit would also reveal India's stand on offering assistance to Maldives and restart work on vital projects that were stalled.

In 2012, Maldives cancelled its biggest foreign investment project, a $511 million deal with Indian firm GMR Group to develop its international airport, raising questions over the future of foreign investment in the islands renowned for luxury resorts.