New Delhi, Aug 16:
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday met with new Maldivian Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim who is visiting India on his first overseas trip after assuming office.
“Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives Mohamed Asim is here today on his first official visit to India,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
Swarup said that Asim had a bilateral meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, which was followed by a lunch hosted by the latter.
Asim also called on Vice President Hamid Ansari later in the afternoon.
Asim, formerly the Maidives’ High Commissioner to Bangladesh, was appointed the country’s Foreign Minister last month after Dunya Maumoon quit the post voicing opposition to the government’s plan to implement the death penalty.
According to Swarup, Asim in his meeting with Sushma Swaraj emphasized that in keeping with the “India first” policy of the Maldives, this was his first overseas visit after assuming his new responsibilities last month.
“External Affairs Minister extended a very warm welcome to Asim, acknowledging the priority given by the visiting Minister to his meeting with her,” Swarup said.
“In their discussions, the External Affairs Minister and Asim took note of the high level exchanges in recent weeks between the two countries and reviewed progress on various aspects of the bilateral relationship,” he sated.
“Asim apprised the External Affairs Minister about preparations for the Maldives Investment Forum to be held in New Delhi later this year.”
Sushma Swaraj reiterated the view expressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that India wanted all its neighbours to benefit from the economic growth and development in India.
The two ministers also exchanged views on the consonance in the strategic perspectives of the two countries to maintain peace and security in the Indian Ocean region.
“Special Envoy of the Prime Minister on Counter-terrorism (Asif Ibrahim) had visited the Maldives in mid-July 2016 and Defence Secretary (G. Mohan Kumar) had visited Male for the 1st India-Maldives Defence Cooperation Dialogue on July 17-18, 2016,” the spokesperson said.
He said that Sushma Swaraj and Asim reaffirmed their resolve to continue strengthening the bilateral partnership between India and the Maldives.
“The Foreign Minister of Maldives also shared his assessment on recent developments in his country and their engagement with the UN and the Special Envoy of the Commonwealth in the context of the forthcoming CMAG (Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group) meeting in New York, on the sidelines of the UNGA (UN General Assembly),” Swarup said. (IANS)