Your Excellency, my friend President Solih,
Ladies & gentlemen,
I am glad that I have had the privilege of visiting your beautiful country Maldives in my first foreign visit of my second term. It is a matter of even greater happiness that I have got the opportunity to once again meet a close friend like you. On behalf of my team and myself, I thank you and the Maldives government with heartfelt gratitude for this opportunity and for your wonderful hospitality. Our countries have celebrated the festival of Eid just a few days ago with joy and glee. I wish that the light of this festival always shine on the lives of our citizens.
Today, by honoring me with the highest honor of the Maldives, you have not only honored me but the whole of India. The Honor of the Distinguished Rule of Izzudeen is a matter of joy and pride for me. It is not only an honor for me but also a respect for the friendship and close relations between the two countries. On behalf of all Indians, I accept it with great humility and gratitude. For thousands of years our two countries have been bound by the waves of the Indian Ocean in close historical and cultural ties. This unwavering friendship has also been a guide in difficult times. Whether it has been an external assault in 1988, or a natural disaster like a tsunami or the recent paucity of drinking water. India has always been standing with the Maldives and has always come forward for the help first.
It is clear from the mandate of the parliamentary elections in India and the Presidential and Majlis elections in Maldives that people of both our countries want stability and development. As such our responsibility for people-centric and inclusive development and good governance becomes even more important.
I just had a very detailed and useful discussions with President Solih. We have reviewed our bilateral cooperation in detail with regional and global issues of mutual interest. We have full agreement on the future direction of our partnership.
President Solih, there has been radical change in the speed and direction of bilateral cooperation since you assumed the post. Decisions made during your visit to India in December 2018 are being implemented in a concerted and timely manner.
Immediate financial requirements of the Maldives have been met with a $1.4 billion financial package announced during President Solih's visit to India. Along with this many new projects of Social Impact have been started. And new lines of development work have also been opened under the $800 million line of credit.
To further strengthen the development partnership between India and Maldives, we have focused on projects that benefit the common citizens of Maldives.
Today our bilateral cooperation is touching every aspect of normal life in Maldives.
● Water and sanitation arrangements on different islands;
● Sufficient finance for small and medium industries;
● Development of ports;
● Construction of conference and community centers;
● Construction of cricket stadium
● Emergency medical services;
● Ambulance service;
● Ensuring coastal safety;
● Arrangement of outdoor fitness equipment;
● Drug detox center;
● Student ferry;
● Agriculture and fisheries;
● Renewable energy and tourism;
Many such projects of Indian cooperation directly benefit the people of Maldives.
We have also agreed to assist in the development of infrastructure and conservation of the historic Friday Mosque in Addu. To increase the connectivity between the citizens of both the countries, we have also agreed to start a ferry service between Kulhudhuffushi and Male in Maldives and Kochi in India. With the release of Rupay card in Maldives, the number of Indian tourists will increase. Very soon we will take action on this. There has also been discussion on strengthening our defense cooperation. Today we jointly inaugurated the Composite Training Center of the Maldives Defense Forces and the Radar System of Coastal Surveillance. This will further enhance the maritime security of the Maldives. India accords utmost importance to its relations with the Maldives. We want a deep and strong partnership with each other. A prosperous, democratic and peaceful Maldives is beneficial for the whole region. I want to reiterate that India is always committed to every possible help to the Maldives. I once again thank His Highness, the President and the people of Maldives for their warm hospitality. May Indo-Maldives friendship be forever.