EAM S Jaishankar holds talks with Maldivian foreign minister

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) The Maldives on Friday requested India for assured supply of essential commodities to it as the two sides discussed a plethora of issues relating to the bilateral, regional and international domains, sources said.

The issue of supply of essential commodities figured in the talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid who is on a two-day trip to India.

The sources said Shahid requested the Indian side for renewal of DGFT (directorate general of foreign trade) notifications regarding assured supply of essential commodities to Maldives from India as per the bilateral trade agreement.

They said Jaishankar assured that Indian commitment will be honoured.

It was the eighth meeting between the two foreign ministers since November 2018 when the government under President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih took office in the Maldives.

Shahid also addressed the Raisina Dialogue 'Welcomed FM @abdulla_shahid of Maldives. Appreciate his participation at Raisina Dialogue. Noted the steady progress in our partnership. Will work closely in the international arena as well,' Jaishankar tweeted.

The sources said the two ministers discussed issues of mutual interests pertaining to the bilateral, regional and international domains. The coronavirus pandemic and avenues of Indian assistance to the island nation to deal with it was also discussed, they said.

In the talks, Jaishankar re-affirmed India's support for the candidacy of the Maldives as the president of the 76th UN General Assembly, the sources said.

They said the two sides also expressed satisfaction over growing number of Indian tourists visiting Maldives which is aiding the Maldivian economy in these difficult times.

Under the bilateral air bubble arrangement, India is already the number one tourist market for Maldives with Indian tourists accounting for 23 per cent of international tourist arrivals in that country, the sources said.

The two ministers also reviewed the status of ongoing India-assisted projects in Maldives.

Currently, India is developing projects worth USD 2 billion covering a large number of areas like ports, roads, bridges, water and sanitation systems as well as socio-economic development.

Both ministers also exchanged views on international bodies including the UN, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Commonwealth and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, and developments of common interest in the region. PTI MPB ANB ANB