India and the Maldives on Friday vowed to boost anti-terror cooperation and expand their maritime security ties to deal with common challenges in the Indian Ocean, a region where China has been rapidly expanding its military presence.
After talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid, both sides inked two pacts providing for cooperation in financial intelligence and election-related issues besides exchanging an instrument of ratification for a treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
“Both sides noted that India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and Maldives’ ‘India First’ policy were working in tandem to further strengthen a dynamic, multifaceted and mutually beneficial partnership that rests on the foundation of mutual trust, understanding and sensitivity to each other’s concerns,” a joint statement issued after the talks said.
In the meeting, both sides also reviewed the ongoing construction of police training facility in the Maldivian city of Addu and capacity building projects being implemented with India’s assistance.
The bilateral defence cooperation includes key infrastructure projects such as construction of a training centre for Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), the setting up of the coastal surveillance radar system as well as training programmes for MNDF officials in India..
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