New Delhi, May 25 (PTI) The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the opening of a new consulate in the Maldivian city of Addu, in reflection of the importance India attaches to its ties with the strategically located island nation.
The government said the opening of the consulate will help augment India's diplomatic presence in the Maldives and make it commensurate with the 'existing and aspired level' of engagement.
India's decision to expand its diplomatic presence in the Maldives comes amid China's consistent efforts to increase its influence in the island nation.
'The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the opening of a new consulate general of India in Addu City, Maldives in 2021,' an official statement said.
Maldives is one of India's key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region and occupies a central and special place in the prime minister's vision of SAGAR -- 'Security and Growth for All in the Region'.
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 It said the momentum and energy in the bilateral relationship reached 'unprecedented levels' under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and President Ibrahim Solih.
The government described the decision to open the new consulate as a 'forward-looking step' in pursuit of India's national priority of growth and development for all.
'This is also a forward-looking step in pursuit of our national priority of growth and development or 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas',' it said.
The government said augmenting India's diplomatic presence will in that country, inter-alia, provide market access for Indian companies and bolster Indian exports of goods and services 'This would have a direct impact in augmenting domestic production and employment in line with our goal of a self-reliant India or 'Atmanirbhar Bharat',' it added. PTI MPB AAR AAR