Neighborhood First: EAM Jaishankar reaches Maldives for bilateral talks, next stop Sri Lanka
Both Maldives and Sri Lanka are India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar arrived in the Maldives on Wednesday on the first leg of a two-nation visit that also includes Sri Lanka.
Announcing the visit on Tuesday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said both Maldives and Sri Lanka are India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region. They occupy a special place in Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and ‘Neighbourhood First’.
"EAM’s visit is testimony to the importance that India attaches to its close and friendly relations with the Maldives and Sri Lanka," the MEA had pointed out.
"Delighted to arrive in Maldives for my fourth visit as External Affairs Minister. Thank FM @abdulla_shahid for the warm welcome. The synergies of India’s Neighborhood First and Maldives’ India First policies strengthen further," EAM Jaishankar tweeted.
He is scheduled to call on President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and hold discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid.
According to the MEA, the visit will see signing of agreements related to the bilateral development cooperation, ground-breaking/ inauguration/ handing-over and launch of a number of key India-supported projects that will contribute to the socio-economic development of the Maldives.
EAM Jaishankar's Sri Lanka visit will be his third to the island nation in the last two years, following up on his tours in January 2021 and March 2022. "Sri Lanka is a close friend and neighbour, and India has stood with the people of Sri Lanka at all times," the MEA noted.
While in Sri Lanka, the Indian External Affairs Minister will call on President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. He will also hold discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs M.U.M. Ali Sabry on the entire gamut of the close India-Sri Lanka partnership and discuss steps to strengthen it in all spheres.