Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will hand over a fast patrol vessel and a landing craft to the Maldives as India’s ”gift” during his visit to the island nation from May 1 to 3.
The defence ministry said this on Sunday, a day ahead of Singh’s visit to the Maldives, one of India’s strategically key maritime neighbours.
It said Singh’s visit will be an ”important landmark” in building strong bonds of friendship between the two countries.
During his visit, Singh will call on Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and hold talks with Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and Defence Minister Mariya Didi.
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”In tune with India’s commitment to capacity building of friendly countries and partners in the region, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will gift one fast patrol vessel ship and a landing craft to the Maldives National Defence Forces,” the ministry said in a statement.
On Singh’s talks with the Maldivian defence and foreign ministers, it said the entire gamut of defence relations between the two countries will be reviewed.
The Maldives is one of India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean region and the overall bilateral ties, including in the areas of defence and security, have been on an upward trajectory in the last few years.
In August last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Solih kick-started the India-funded Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP), billed as the largest infrastructure initiative in the island nation.
Under the 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.
The Maldives is also one of the biggest beneficiaries of India’s Neighbourhood First policy.
Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane visited the Maldives last month and held talks with his Maldivian counterpart, Major General Abdulla Shamaal.