Maldives occupies an important place in India's Neighbourhood First Policy

A new Consulate General of India will be opened in Addu City, Maldives this year to enhance India's presence in the country.

The opening of a Consulate General in Maldives was approved by the Union Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

The decision is significant as India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links steeped in antiquity.

"Maldives occupies an important place in the 'Neighbourhood First Policy' and the 'SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) vision of the Government of India," noted an official statement issued after the cabinet meet.

The new Consulate General will make India's presence in the Maldives "commensurate with the existing and aspired level of engagement," it said.

The momentum and energy in the bilateral relationship has reached unprecedented levels under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

According to the Indian government, this move is also a forward-looking step in pursuit of the national priority of growth and development or 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas'.

Incrasing India's diplomatic presence will provide market access for Indian companies and bolster Indian exports of goods and services.

This would have a direct impact in augmenting domestic production and employment in line with the goal of a self-reliant India or 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.

India and Maldives had signed a trade agreement in 1981, which provides for export of essential commodities. In 2020, the value of India‐Maldives bilateral
trade stood at US$ 290.27 mn.