Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached the Maldives on Saturday on the invitation of Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. This is his first bilateral visit after retaining power in the Lok Sabha polls.

Just before Modi touched down the country, Ahmed Mahloof, Minister of Youth, Sports & Community Empowerment of Maldives had expressed a keen desire to work with the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) to train the Maldivian cricketers after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had requested for India’s assistance in developing the sport in his country.

“We received a lot of support from the Indian government in the areas of youth and sports. We had a successful meeting with the BCCI and we expect that they will help us develop cricket here. India’s support would mean a lot to us,” said Ahmed Mahloof.

“Like Afghanistan Cricket board was adopted by the BCCI, we have an expectation that BCCI will help us in the area of cricket. Soon we will work out a strategic plan for sports with technical support from India,” added Mahloof.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said that the Ministry of External Affairs was working with the BCCI to train Maldivian cricketers following the request made by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

Gokhale also said that the requests made by the Maldives include the development of a cricket stadium in the island nation.

Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid had on Saturday announced that his country would confer Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Maldives’ highest honour accorded to foreign dignitaries. The official announcement about the award was made by Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.