India, Maldives to deepen cooperation for Indian Ocean security

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New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS) India and the Maldives on Monday agreed to deepen cooperation to maintain peace and security in the Indian Ocean region following delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih here.

“President Solih and I agree that to maintain peace and security in the Indian Ocean region, we need to deepen our cooperation,” Modi said while jointly addressing the media with Solih after the talks.

“Both India and the Maldives share equal interest and stake in the development and stability of our region,” he said.

Stating that the security interests of the two countries are related to each other, Modi said that there is also unanimity on the sustainability of this region and to be conscious of each other’s interests and concerns.

“We will not allow the use of our countries to harm each other,” he said.

The Prime Minister also called for boosting commercial relations and bilateral trade.

“I welcome the growing opportunities for investment by Indian companies in the Maldives,” he said.

On his part, Solih said that during the discussions, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to democracy.

“We agreed on the mutual need for regional stability and security in the Indian Ocean,” he said.

The Maldives President also said that both sides discussed cooperation in health, education and commerce among other areas.

Solih arrived here on Sunday on a three-day visit to India, his first foreign visit since assuming office on November 17.

Relations between India and the Maldives deteriorated after Solih’s predecessor Abdulla Yameen imposed an internal emergency in February this year. Solih defeated Yameen in the elections in September to take over as President.

–IANS

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