India signs key financial intelligence agreement with Maldives
India and the Maldives on Friday signed an agreement for cooperation between their financial intelligence units and discussed ways to streamline the recruitment of Indian nurses to bolster the Indian Ocean archipelago’s healthcare sector.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid co-chaired the first Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) between the two sides since 2015 and reviewed progress achieved in implementing the agenda for bilateral cooperation.
India’s ties with the Maldives had nosedived under the previous regime headed by Abdulla Yameen, and the new government led by Ibrahim Solih has adopted an “India first” policy to help rebuild the relationship. India has responded with a $1.4-billion economic package and an $800-million line of credit for critical infrastructure projects.
India has also launched high impact community development projects worth a $5.6 million and grant assistance projects worth $6.9 million, and the two sides decided to closely monitor these schemes to achieve quick implementation, said a statement from the external affairs ministry.
Besides the pact between the financial intelligence units, the two sides exchanged the instrument of ratification for a treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and signed a MoU for cooperation between the two election commissions.
The Maldivian side acknowledged the key role played by Indian nurses in its healthcare sector, and means to streamline the recruitment of nurses were discussed. They agreed to expedite work on a cancer hospital in Hulhumale.
In the field of defence and security, the two sides reviewed key infrastructure projects such as construction of a training centre for the Maldivian defence forces and the setting up of a coastal surveillance radar system. The Maldivian side acknowledged the usefulness of the patrol vessel Kaamiyaab that was recently gifted by India.
Shahid also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who expressed satisfaction at the enhanced level of engagement between the two sides. Modi reiterated India’s commitment to a partnership to build a strong, democratic and peaceful Maldives. Shahid conveyed the Maldives’ commitment to its “India first” policy.