National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the Defence Minister of Maldives, Mariya Didi, and held talks on deepening bilateral ties with the key island nation in the Indian Ocean. Doval’s talks with Didi were part of a trilateral maritime dialogue among three countries – India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives – being held in the Sri Lankan capital.
Sri Lanka is hosting the fourth national security advisor trilateral dialogue on maritime security cooperation with India and the Maldives. The meeting is taking place after six years; the last meeting was held in New Delhi in 2014.
“NSA Ajit Doval and Mariya Didi held a cordial and detailed discussion on deepening bilateral partnership between India and the Maldives in defence and security,” High Commission of India in the Maldives said in a tweet. Doval arrived in Colombo on Friday for the trilateral dialogue.
The high-level engagement covers a wide range of subjects and is designed to initiate collective action on maritime security including maritime domain awareness, legal regimes, training in search and rescue, maritime pollution response, information sharing, curbing piracy drugs arms and contraband trafficking in the Indian Ocean region.
On Thursday, the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi said the NSA trilateral meeting had served as an effective platform for cooperation among Indian Ocean countries. “The meeting will provide an opportunity for discussion on issues pertaining to cooperation in maritime security in the Indian Ocean region,” the MEA said in a statement.
The meeting is taking place amidst China’s attempts to spread its influence in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region. China views the Maldives as key to its Maritime Silk Road project in the Indian Ocean as it has already acquired Hambantota port in Sri Lanka and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines