Male, Sep 17 (ANI): India and Maldives have agreed to continue to work closely in the area of defence and security.
Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony accompanied by a high level delegation paid a three-day official visit from September 15 to 17 to Maldives on the invitation of his counterpart Col. (ret) Mohamed Nazim.
In Male, Antony held detailed discussions with the Maldivian side led by his Maldivian counterpart. He also called on President of Maldives Dr. Mohamed Waheed.
The Maldivian side welcomed the second visit of the Indian Defence Minister since 2009 as a continuation of the tradition of regular exchange of high level visits between India and Maldives.
At the formal talks, both the sides reviewed the status of existing bilateral defence relations including the projects being currently executed with the assistance of the Government of India.
"Noting the entwined destinies of the two countries and the commonalities in the security concerns, both the countries agreed to continue to work closely in the area of defence and security," said a joint statement issued on the Indian Defence Minister's visit to Maldives.
During the call on President Dr. Waheed, both the sides noted with satisfaction, the enduring close and multi-dimensional relations and deep friendship between the two countries. Maldivian leadership conveyed its profound appreciation to India, its close and trusted friend for its continued support and assistance to Maldives.
Indian side was briefed on the present domestic political and economic situation in Maldives and the ongoing initiative to strengthen and consolidate the nascent democracy in the country. It was agreed that both sides would work to step up the bilateral cooperation in all areas.
During his visit, the Indian Defence Minister formally inaugurated with H.E Mr. Mohamed Nazim, the MNDF hospital "SENAHIYA" established in Male (Maldives) with the assistance of the Government of India.
Antony also laid the Foundation stone for the MNDF Composite Training Center, to be established with the assistance of the Government of India, in Maafilafushi (Lhaviyaani Atoll).
The visiting Indian Defence Minister thanked the Maldivian leadership and the MNDF for the warm reception and hospitality provided to the delegation during the visit.
Antony invited Defence Minister of Maldives Col. (ret) Mohamed Nazim to visit India. The invitation was accepted with pleasure.
The Indian delegation was seen off at the Male Airport by Col. (ret) Mohamed Nazim, High Commissioner of India in Maldives and senior officials of the MNDF, on conclusion of the visit, which marked an important milestone in the bilateral relations. (ANI)