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  • Writer's picturePrabhat Phonedekar

Rajnath Singh, India will present a patrol boat and landing craft to the Maldives

During his visit to the island nation from May 1 to 3, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will present the Maldives with a fast patrol vessel and a landing craft as a "gift" from India.

India and the Maldives have been steadily strengthening their bilateral ties, and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's visit to the island nation from May 1 to 3 will be a significant landmark in this regard.

During his visit, Singh will be gifting a fast patrol vessel and a landing craft to the Maldives, a move aimed at bolstering the Maldives' defence capabilities.

The Maldives is one of India's key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean region, and their overall bilateral ties have been on an upward trajectory in recent years.

India's decision to provide military platforms to the Maldives is a testament to India's commitment to capacity-building of friendly countries and partners in the region.

Moreover, India's "Neighbourhood First" policy seeks to work closely with its neighbours, and the Maldives is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this policy.

In August last year, the India-funded Greater Male Connectivity Project was launched, which is the largest infrastructure initiative in the Maldives.

Under this project, a 6.74-km-long bridge and causeway link will be built to connect Maldivian capital Male with the adjoining islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.

During his visit, Singh is scheduled to call on Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and hold talks with Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and Defence Minister Mariya Didi.

The entire gamut of defence relations between the two countries will be reviewed during these talks.

The discussions will also cover various India-assisted projects in the Maldives, and Singh will interact with the Indian diaspora.

The timing of India's decision to provide military platforms to the Maldives is crucial, as China has been making persistent efforts to expand its overall influence in the region.

India's vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) seeks to jointly develop the capabilities within the Indian Ocean region, and the Maldives' "India First" policy aligns perfectly with India's vision.

India and the Maldives are working closely to effectively address shared challenges, including maritime security, terrorism, radicalisation, piracy, trafficking, organised crime and natural disasters.

The two countries' strong bonds of friendship will only grow stronger with time, and Singh's visit to the Maldives will be a crucial step towards that direction.

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