Pledging Indias support in the transition to a fully functional democracy in Maldives,which had its first multi-party parliamentary elections in 2009,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday extended a series of bilateral assistance programmes. These included a stand-by credit facility of $100 million to help stabilise its fiscal position, construction of a national police academy,renovation of Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Male,and studying the feasibility of developing a port north of the Maldivian capital.
The PM and Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed signed a Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development,putting in place a template for cooperation in a wide range of areas like trade and investment,food security,fisheries development,tourism,new and renewable energy,and communications.
The two countries signed an agreement on transfer of sentenced prisoners,MoUs on combating terrorism,drug trafficking,disaster management and coastal security,stand-by credit facility,renovation of Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital,and programme and cooperation from 2012 to 2015. The two countries also examined the possibility of commencing regular passenger-cum-cargo ferry services between Kochi and Male at the earliest.
India attaches the highest importance to its relations with Maldives…We are guided by the premise that a prosperous,democratic and peaceful Maldives is in the interest of the region, said Singh in a joint statement. Nasheed said the agreements go a long way in Indias assistance in Maldives economic and political development.
The first foreign head of government to address the multi-party Maldivian Parliament,Majlis,Singh said,Indias security,like that of Maldives,is closely linked to what happens in the Indian Ocean. The challenges we face are well-known extremism and religious fundamentalism,piracy,smuggling and drug trafficking… Our two countries have agreed upon a multi-pronged approach to deal with these problems.