Underlining the fact that Maldivian foreign policy is based on “India first”, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid on Friday described ties with India as “special” and noted that Indian leadership at the international level has been outstanding, saying That New Delhi has established itself by supporting and helping countries in times of need.
He went further and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and quoted his statement that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi clearly said that G-20 is not just 20 countries sitting around the table.”
Speaking to ANI, Abdulla Shahid said, “For Maldives, India is special. Our foreign policy is based on India because I have already told you – we have no enemies, but we all have friends.”
Maldivian foreign minister said that India has the largest population, and is the fastest growing economy and is the chair of the G20.
Appreciating the stature India has achieved on the global stage, he said, “India’s leadership at the international level has been outstanding and it is for all to see how India has established itself.”
“India’s leadership at the international level is talked about and respected all over the world. We are very happy that we have a neighbor who has a policy of neighborhood first and is open to reaching out. India is a time-tested friend of ours. Every emergency we have had in Maldives, India has been the first responder,” he said, elaborating on how India’s neighbourhood-first policy has benefited him.
He said, “The generosity with which India has reached out to us during the 1988 mercenary attack, the 2004 tsunami and the 2015 water crisis and most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic is amazing. We are very grateful that India has supported us.” How did you get access?” Added.
He also mentioned India’s support to Turkey after the earthquake and said, “India immediately sent rescue personnel. Indian leadership appreciated worldwide.”
Listing the major connectivity projects undertaken by India, he said, “The great Himalayan Connectivity Bridge project is underway which is going to become a symbol of friendship between India and Maldives.”
EAM also mentioned other ongoing projects in the Maldives, ranging from small community projects to large projects such as bridges, airports, hospitals, water and sewerage projects in the islands, and housing projects.
However, he added, “It would be unfair to highlight the importance of any one of them.”
Abdullah Shahid said that India’s chairmanship of G-20 is being seen as an opportunity across the world, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi clearly said that G-20 is not only around the table of 20 countries .
Asked about the indication of inviting all neighbors to the G20 summit, Maldivian Foreign Minister said that India has a neighborhood first policy and Maldives is happy to be a part of the Indian presidency of the G20.
Speaking on India-Maldives relations, he very strongly said that Maldives is not a competitive playground for anyone.
He said, “Maldives have a very special relationship with India, Prime Minister Modi was there (Maldives) for the swearing-in ceremony of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in 2018 and President Solih came to India in December the same year for a state visit and Since then there have been very high-level visits and contacts,” he added while stressing on deepening ties between the two countries.
Speaking further, he said, “The trust and confidence in the leadership of both the countries has been great. People like us and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar have to ensure that we fulfill the commitments made by the leaders. I am very happy that we Both are capable. As well as to deliver. As a result, I would say that relations between India and Maldives have never been better”.
On meeting External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, he said that the External Affairs Minister was in Maldives in January.
“I’m meeting him here again, so it’s just that we’ll recap and make sure we’re on the right track,” he added.
On comparing Maldives’ relations with India and China, he said that India is special for Maldives. The foreign policy of Maldives is based on “India-First”.
“We have no enemies and we work with everyone,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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