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Maldivian President Solih begins four-day India visit

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih began a four-day visit to India on Monday to inject a new momentum to the close and expanding strategic partnership between the two countries.

Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan welcomed Solih on his arrival at the Delhi airport.

The Maldives is one of India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean region and the overall bilateral ties, including in areas of defence and security, have been on an upward trajectory in the past few years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Solih will hold wide-ranging talks on Tuesday following which the two sides are expected to ink a number of agreements.

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Solih is also scheduled to meet President Draupadi Murmu.

“A warm welcome to a close friend and maritime neighbour! President @ibusolih of Maldives arrives in New Delhi for an official visit,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Twitter.

“An opportunity to nurture the unwavering friendship between our two countries and lend further momentum to the multi-faceted partnership,” he added.

Besides official engagements in New Delhi, President Solih will also visit Mumbai and participate in business events.

abdulla shamaal - wikipedia

Last week, Chief of Maldivian defence forces Maj Gen Abdulla Shamaal visited India.

In March, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, during a visit to Male, handed over a coastal radar system to the country. India and Maldives share common perspectives on maritime security issues in the Indian Ocean and have been working together to expand defence cooperation.

Development cooperation has been a key pillar of the India-Maldives relationship with New Delhi providing Lines of Credit of over USD 1.2 billion for infrastructure and grants for community development projects to the island nation.

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In August last year, the island nation sealed a contract for the implementation of an India-funded connectivity project, billed as the largest infrastructure initiative being rolled out in the island nation.

greater male connectivity project: gmcp - youtube

Under the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP), a 6.74-km-long bridge and causeway link will be built to connect capital city Male with adjoining islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.

Funded under a grant of USD 100 million and a Line of Credit of USD 400 million from India, it will be reportedly the largest infrastructure project in the Maldives.

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