EAM Jaishankar to visit Maldives, Mauritius this week to review bilateral ties
- The Indian Ocean states occupy a special place in India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy and the Maldives has been a key beneficiary of India’s efforts to help countries in the neighbourhood overcome the effects of the pandemic.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar will make a visit to the Maldives and Mauritius later this week to review bilateral ties and development cooperation; especially measures aimed at helping the Indian Ocean states overcome the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the easing of Covid-19-related travel restrictions, Jaishankar made his first foreign visit to Sri Lanka last month and there are plans for him to travel to Bangladesh on March 4 to prepare the ground for a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Indian Ocean states occupy a special place in India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy and the Maldives has been a key beneficiary of India’s efforts to help countries in the neighbourhood overcome the effects of the pandemic. Last year, India extended urgent budgetary support of $250 million to the Maldives and provided another $500 million for the Greater Male Connectivity Project.
Jaishankar will be in the Maldives during February 20-21 and have meetings with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and the ministers for foreign affairs, defence, finance, economic development and planning and infrastructure.
He will also hold talks with Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, a key supporter of better ties with India, and meet political leaders.
“During this visit, [Jaishankar] will review the entire gamut of our bilateral ties as well as progress of ongoing bilateral projects and hold discussions on the ongoing Covid-19 situation, including India’s continued assistance to the Maldives for its post-Covid economic recovery,” the external affairs ministry said.
On his visit to Mauritius during February 22-23, Jaishankar will meet President Pritivirajsing Roopun and Prime Minister Pravind Jagnauth. He will also hold talks with foreign minister Alan Ganoo. Jaishankar will review bilateral ties, implementation of infrastructure projects by India and hold talks on bilateral, regional and global issues, including India’s assistance to Mauritius, the ministry said.
Mauritius received 100,000 doses of Indian-made Covid-19 vaccines as a grant last month, becoming one of four Indian Ocean states to benefit from the “Vaccine Maitri” initiative.
The Maldives and Mauritius are “key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean region and occupy a special place in [the] Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region)”, the ministry said.
Jaishankar’s visit is “testimony to the importance that India attaches to its close and friendly relations with the Maldives and Mauritius and is expected to lend further momentum to substantive cooperation and robust people-to-people ties between the two countries,” it added.
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