Indian foreign secretary concludes Maldives visit

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Tuesday concluded an official visit to the Maldives that was part of the Indian government’s neighbourhood outreach efforts.

Jaishankar met Malidives Vice President Ahmed Adeeb and Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon before leaving the Indian Ocean atoll nation on Tuesday.

Jaishankar’s visit comes as Maldives President Abdulla Yameen said he would ensure that jailed former president Mohamed Nasheed is given clemency within the boundaries of the respective legislation.

India has voiced concern over the incarceration of Nasheed, sentenced to 13 years in jail on terrorism charges.

After his arrival in Male, Jaishankar on Monday morning paid a courtesy call on Vice President Ahmed Adheeb at the President’s office.

Their discussions focused on trade and economy and other areas of mutual national interest.

Jaishankar assured the vice president that India would continue to provide assistance to the Maldives.

This was Jaishankar’s first official visit to the Maldives as foreign secretary of India.

According to the president’s office, Adeeb and Jaishankar noted the good relations between Maldives and India and discussed ways to further enhance bilateral relations. Adeeb expressed hope for more Indian investments in the Maldives.

At the meeting, Jaishankar said the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital was one of India’s “proudest foreign projects in the Maldives”.

Adeeb was accompanied by Foreign Minister Maumoon, Foreign Secretary Ali Naseer Mohamed and director at the President’s Office, Mohamed Hassaan.

Jaishankar arrived in the Maldives on Monday morning as part of his ‘SAARC Yatra’. He was welcomed at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport by Foreign Secretary Ali Naseer and Indian High Commissioner Rajeev Sahare.

The visit comes days after the Maldivian parliament passed a bill allowing foreign investors with a minimum of $1 billion to lease land in the Indian Ocean atoll nation on a freehold basis.

The move caused concern in India as China has a major presence in the Maldives.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who skipped the Maldives on his Indian Ocean tour in March, greeted the people of Maldives on July 26 on their 50th Independence Day, calling the country India’s “valued partner”.

On Monday, President Yameen said the prosecutor general had announced plans to appeal Nasheed’s sentence.

President Yameen also noted that Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party had the most differences with the government, and welcomed the engaging approach by MDP in its political dialogue with the government.

He said conditions put forward by MDP were not acceptable to him, but appreciated the fact that the MDP was lenient in letting go of their initial rigid demands, raajje.mv news site reported.

 

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