Taking India-Maldives ties forward, Maldivian Foreign Secretary Ali Naseer Mohamed is visiting India on an official visit
The visit of Mohamed comes two months after the visit to Male of his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar during which the two top diplomats discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, economic and defence.
The Maldivian foreign secretary&’s visit comes amid a thaw in the bilateral ties.
On March 8, former Maldivian president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, giving a talk in New Delhi, said that India remains the "most important strategic" partner of Maldives.
"India was and remains the most strategically important partner of Maldives, whether it is our ties in education and army and navy training and the recent goodwill visit of ships to our country only prove that. And, we wish to continue our ties," Gayoom said.
As part of cementing of ties, Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya along with its support ships INS Mysore and INS Deepak were on a four-day visit to Maldives recently from February 14.
In October last year, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was in Male for the India-Maldives Joint Commission meeting during which all the facets of the relationship were discussed.
Ties between India and Maldives had hit a low in 2013 following the abrupt termination of an agreement for upgradation of Male airport with Indian infrastructure giant GMR. The jailing of former president Mohamed Nasheed added to the unease in ties.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reportedly cancelled a visit to Maldives last year due to the incarceration of Nasheed, who is a friend of India.
Maldives’ perceived closeness to China has been another issue troubling the bilateral ties. However, the Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen had in December 8 hailed the Neighbourhood First policy of the Indian government.
China is funding several infrastructure projects across the Maldives, including the building of a bridge between capital Male and the airport island of Hulhule and the development of the country&’s main international airport.
Chinese businesses, mostly state-owned corporations, have a marked presence in Maldives’ upmarket luxury tourism industry.