Male [Maldives], November 10 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla concluded his two-day Maldives visit, during which Male and New Delhi signed four agreements -- including on Greater Male Connectivity Project -- on Tuesday.
The Indian High Commission here said the two-day visit served to reinforce core values of the Maldives-India partnership.
"After a two-day visit packed with productive meetings and civil society engagements, Foreign Secretary @harshvshringla departed for Delhi. The visit served to reinforce core values of the #MaldivesIndia partnership & further consolidated our close friendly relations," the Indian High Commission here tweeted.
The Indian High Commission here added that Shringla had called on President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Monday and briefed him on the satisfactory status of implementation of decisions taken during his interactions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2018 and June 2019.
President Solih had expressed his deep appreciation for the support received from India in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, the USD 250 million financial assistance provided in September 2020 as budget support.
During an event, Shringla had also said the country would be among the first nations to receive the COVID-19 vaccines as soon as one developed in India.
"The Maldives will be among the first countries to receive the COVID-19 vaccines, as soon as one is developed in India," Shringla noted.
Earlier, Solih and Modi had also interacted through a video-conference in April 2020 to discuss assistance to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, while reviewing the state of bilateral relations with his counterpart Abdul Ghafoor, Shringla discussed the respective national approaches to deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ghafoor conveyed his government's appreciation for India's substantial assistance to the Maldives to tide over the effects of the pandemic.
Ghafoor and Shringla positively assessed the robust growth in the diverse planks of the bilateral ties between the two countries, including development partnership, health cooperation, connectivity, trade, and economic relations.
Among his other high-level bilateral meetings, Shringla held one with Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, during which he acknowledged the latter's long-standing support to the strengthening of India-Maldives relations.
Shringla, along with Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, witnessed the signing of the agreement for extending USD 100 million grant to the Maldives to part-finance the Greater Male Connectivity Project.
Memoranda of Understanding on setting up of a Drug-detox Centre (MVR 7,980,536.69 grant) in Addu City and upgrading the Agricultural Research Centre in Hanimaadhoo (MVR 1,711,434.60 grant) were also concluded.
Shringla also participated in the event to handover equipment for the setting up of Children's Parks in 67 islands spread out across the Atolls.
He even visited the site of the Ekuveni ground in Male where a new running track is being laid out with funds from an Indian grant.
Both these projects are included in the roughly 30 projects being implemented in the Maldives under the Rs 90 crore (USD 13 million) grant assistance from India.
According to the high commission, this is the first high-level bilateral visit from India to the Maldives this year and follows the interaction held on August 13, 2020, between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid in digital video-conference format.(ANI)