Maldives occupies a special place in India's Neighborhood First policy, the Ministry of External Affairs said

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will leave on a two-day visit to the Maldives to review bilateral ties on Monday. This will be the first high level in-person interaction between the two sides since the disruption caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

The Foreign Secretary is scheduled to call on President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in addition to holding talks with several ministers.

Providing information about the visit, a press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said the Foreign Secretary will review the entire gamut of bilateral ties.

He will also take stock of the progress of ongoing bilateral projects and hold discussions on the ongoing COVID situation, including India’s continued assistance to the Maldives for its post-COVID economic recovery.

Foreign Secretary Shringla will have "substantive discussions" with the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Defence, Finance, Economic Development, Planning, Home Affairs, Tourism and Youth & Sports.

During the visit, Shringla will also call on Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and meet with other political leaders.

Maldives occupies a special place in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the MEA said.

"This time-tested and enduring relationship with the Maldives strengthened and deepened even further in recent months," the release said.

India has been extending assistance to the Maldives in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Foreign Secretary’s visit is testimony to the importance that India attaches to its relations with the Maldives and is expected to lend further momentum to cooperation between the two countries, the MEA said.