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President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and First Lady Madam Fathimath Ibrahim have today met with the Maldivians residing in New Delhi, as part of their visit to India.

Speaking at the meeting, President Yameen expressed his hopes that his discussions with the Indian government would be beneficial to all Maldivians. Pointing out that India was Maldives’ closest friend within the South Asian region, the President said that at every time of national distress in the Maldives, the Indian government has been ready to provide the most significant and sincere support and assistance.

Addressing the Maldivian students at the meeting, the President said that the opportunity of pursuing university education was one of life’s biggest achievements.

Stressing on the dire state of today’s Maldivian economy, the President said that the most crucial step towards erecting the economy was securing means to fulfill our own needs. He said that his interaction with the Maldivian students this evening has enlightened him that every issue they faced was eventually tied to financial difficulties.

In his speech, the President said that all students must keep in mind that being under duress was not only politically taking over another country, and that modern day captivity was the inability of a country to be economically self-sufficient. He noted that we should always be mindful that at times of need; there is always a price to pay, in today’s globalized world.

“The government may not be able to afford it, or even be forced to take an action that threatens the nation’s sovereignty. For this reason, we need to be a self-sufficient country, a self-sufficient people”, said the President.

In his speech, President Yameen underlined that political disputes were inevitable; however, he said all political leaders must always put forth national harmony. He said that political differences were matters that could be resolved through dialogue, and that it was unacceptable that most of the time the common people are burdened because of the conflict caused by political leaders.

Member of Parliament and Leader of Jumhooree Party Qasim Ibrahim, and Member of Parliament and Leader of Maldives Development Alliance Ahmed Siyam Mohamed also spoke to the gathering this evening.

Speaking at the meeting, the Maldivian High Commissioner accredited to India conveyed gratitude to the President and First Lady for meeting the Maldivian community. He expressed hopes that the President’s visit would prove to be fruitful.

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President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and First Lady Madam Fathimath Ibrahim have received a grand welcome from the Indian government. The ceremony was held this morning at the Presidential Palace Rashtrapati Bhavan.

President Yameen and the First Lady were officially received at the Presidential Palace, by Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, and Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
On arrival of the President and First Lady at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Indian Army fired a 21 gun salute. When President Yameen ascended the saluting dais, the national anthems of the two countries were played. President Yameen then inspected a guard of honour accorded to him.

At the official welcome ceremony, the Indian dignitaries at the receiving line were introduced to President Yameen; and the Maldivian dignitaries were introduced to the Indian President.

Speaking to the media after the ceremony, President Yameen noted that this was his first visit out of country, after assumption of presidency. Highlighting the long standing relationship between the Maldives and India, the President expressed hopes to achieve substantial progress in furthering the India-Maldives relationship.

The President also noted that the Maldives’ long existing bond with India was almost 50 years old. He expressed hopes that more Indian investors will come to Maldives.

After the ceremonial welcome, the President and First Lady visited Rajghat and paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.

 

The Government of Maldives and India held Official talks, led by President Yameen Abdul Gayoom and Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh.

At the talks Dr. Singh assured President Yameen that during his state visit, India would offer its warmest hospitality and camaraderie to the Maldivian President and his delegation. Prime Minister Singh said that the two countries had formed a unique partnership over the years, and elaborated on the shared desire for peace, stability and security in South Asia.

Congratulating President Yameen on assuming the office of the President, the Indian Prime Minister noted the successful political transition following the election and the efforts of the new government to consolidate democracy in the country. Expressing India’s confidence in the Maldives to resolve internal matters in the country, he welcomed the President’s pledge of economic transformation in the Maldives.

Prime Minister Singh highlighted the key agreements and decisions on the joint statement, including the facilitation of trade credit to the Maldives to the amount of 25 million dollars, the relaxation of restriction on stone aggregates, the favorable disposition of India for the Maldives request to import petroleum from India, and the supply of other essential commodities.

Highlighting that Indira Gandhi Memorial is an enduring symbol of Indo-Maldives relations, the Indian Prime Minister assured that work on comprehensively renovating the hospital would begin in the near future.

Delving in to the prevalent strong economic ties between the two countries, Prime Minister Dr. Singh noted that improved air connectivity would help to increase the Indian influx to the Maldives. He also said that the Indian Government encourages the Indian entrepreneurs to invest in the Maldives and noted that infrastructure, housing, education, health and renewable energy were some of the potential areas for Indian investment in the Maldives’ economy.

Prime Minister Singh highlighted that the liberalization of visas for travel to India particularly for medical purposes as a further development of this visit. He expressed the need to strengthen cooperation on defense and security and noted that India was favorable towards a number of projects in the sector including the composite training facility, the new building of the Ministry of Defense, the Police Academy, equipment and infrastructure needs of Maldives National Defense Force, and the upgrading of Senehiya. He also emphasized the importance of cooperation in maritime security issues to ensure stability and peace.

At the talks, President Yameen briefed Indian PM and his delegation on the key priorities of his government, including employment for the youth, higher education scholarships, and broadening of the country’s economic base.

The Maldivian President expressed his confidence that this visit would open a new chapter of the Indo-Maldives relations. He assured India of the Maldives’ firm support to India in India’s candidatures at the International level.

After the talks a joint statement between Maldives and India was issued on occasion of the visit.

 

Indian Minister of External Affairs, Shri Salman Khurshid has called on President Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The External Minister noted that India and Maldives were friendly neighbors and partners in democracy. He said that India would put in maximum effort in to collaborating with Maldives, and helping to fulfill the wishes of the Maldivian people. He also assured of India’s commitment to working closely and nurturing the friendship with Maldives.

Congratulating President Yameen on his election victory, the Minister noted that elections were a triumph for the will of the people.

President Yameen thanked the Indian External Minister for India’s generous assistance in human resource development; especially in the areas of military and police. He also thanked India for its willingness to support the Maldives in alleviating the current difficulties related to energy and petroleum.

At the meeting, President Yameen said that Maldives always looks up to India for its leadership in SAARC, and welcomes India’s pivotal role in regional affairs, including its efforts to ensure safety and security in the Indian Ocean peninsula. The President thanked India for its support in strengthening the security cooperation with the Maldives. He also noted that he looked forward to welcoming the External Minister for SAARC Council of Ministers’ meeting to be held in the Maldives next month.

Further, the President said that India was Maldives’ key partner in diplomacy, and highlighted the key priorities of his government. He also briefed the Minister on his visions for economic transformation, and thanked the Minister for facilitating the landmark agreements during this visit.

 

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has this evening said that the key feature of the Indo-Maldives friendship has been the eagerness with which we have supported each other at all times. He made the statement in his speech at the State Banquet hosted by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, in honour of President Yameen and First Lady Madam Fathimath Ibrahim. The State Banquet was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

In his speech, the President noted with immense satisfaction, that the two Governments have agreed on boosting ties at the bilateral, sub-regional and regional levels, which will enable the two countries to realise their collective developmental aspirations, and contribute to peace, prosperity and security in the South Asian region.

Highlighting the lasting generosity of India, President Yameen underlined Maldives’ continuous support to India in all areas. “In every hour of national distress, be it a foreign terrorist coup attempt as with the 1988 mercenary attack, or a natural catastrophe such as the 2004 Asian Tsunami, India helped us wholeheartedly and generously in restoring normalcy to the lives of our people. For our part, we have always expressed our support and demonstrated our solidarity to India in every way possible, especially in the international arena.”

In his speech, the President said that the member states of South Asia could collectively reverse the worrying trend of victimization and neglect in matters of global interest, by “pooling our human, natural and financial resources, and propelling ourselves as a formidable bargaining bloc”.

Pointing out that the Indian Sub-Continent was a location of strategic importance with rich resources and geographic conveniences, the President noted that it was our responsibility, from national, regional and international perspectives, to ensure continued peace, security and stability in South Asia.

“Our two countries and peoples are upbeat over and expectant of the prospects of accelerated development and growth in the coming years. To realise this dream of a more prosperous South Asia, it is of the utmost importance to promote bilateral trade and investment, develop sustainable infrastructure, establish development finance institutions and work closely on economic cooperation in key sectors of growth, all of which have been landmarks of the bilateral exchanges during this visit”, said the President.

 

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