India-Maldives partnership a ‘true force of stability’ for Indian Ocean region: Jaishankar

Jaishankar made the remarks during the inauguration of the National College of Police and Law Enforcement (NCPLE) in the city of Addu in the Maldives.

Jaishankar made the remarks during the inauguration of the National College of Police and Law Enforcement (NCPLE) in the city of Addu in the Maldives.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Sunday that India and the Maldives share a deep and enduring friendship and that their partnership is of great significance and constitutes a “true force for stability” and prosperity for the region. of the Indian Ocean.

Mr Jaishankar made the remarks at the inauguration of the National College for Policing and Law Enforcement (NCPLE) in the town of Addu in the Maldives – one of India’s largest grant-funded projects in the island nation – in presence of Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

He called the project a “true symbol of our development partnership” and praised the Maldives Police Service for its new training center, saying it will serve to reinforce the traditions of exchanges and training between police forces. Maldives and India police.

“India and the Maldives share a deep and enduring friendship. Today, our relationship is full of promise and opportunity for our youth and for our future generations. It is also a far-reaching partnership and a true strength of stability and prosperity for the Indian Ocean region,” he said.

“I am confident that NCPLE will be one of those flagship institutions that will spread this message. I congratulate President Solih, the government and people of the Maldives, and especially the officers of the Maldives Police Service on his inauguration,” the Minister said.

On the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA) and the Maldives Police to support the upgrading of police infrastructure in the ‘archipelago.

The NCPLE is an apex grant project for the Government of India. “We hope that NCPLE will soon become an iconic institution that produces the best brains and bodies to meet the challenges facing all modern police forces,” Jaishankar said, adding that India has increased the number of police slots. training for the Maldives at its police academy at 8.

“We hope that the brotherly bonds … developed over the years between our two institutions will allow the NCPLE to become a regional center of excellence in law enforcement in the years to come,” he said.

The Maldives is one of India’s major maritime neighbors in the Indian Ocean region and bilateral defense and security relations have been on an upward trajectory in recent years.

Noting that defense cooperation is another key pillar of India-Maldives partnership, Mr. Jaishankar said he would officially hand over the Coastal Radar System, which comprises ten radar stations, to the Chief of Defense Force. .

This system will contribute to enhancing the security of the Maldives and the entire region.

Mr. Jaishankar said India and the Maldives have gone through a very difficult period where they have been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He commended President Solih and the government and people of the Maldives for the resilience they have shown in the face of this adversity.

“Your vaccination program, your decision to establish an air bubble, our collaboration, I think these are all examples of how challenges actually bring two neighbors together much more closely than they otherwise would” , did he declare.

“We are proud of what we have achieved in recent years, we are particularly proud of how we have overcome challenges together. And it showed that your ‘India first’ policy and our ‘neighborhood first’ policy are not just phrases, but are in fact the very linchpin of our relationship,” said Mr. Jaishankar.

He said that in recent times, under the guidance and leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Solih, the India-Maldives partnership has achieved momentum and even dynamism on an unprecedented scale.

“Today, our partnership encompasses cooperation in almost every aspect of our bilateral relationship. The center of our commitments, of course, always remains the well-being of our peoples. Our development partnership – which is transparent, which is guided by the needs and priorities of the people and government of the Maldives – amounts to over $2.6 billion in grants, loans, budget support, capacity building and development assistance training,” he said.

He said the two countries are now entering a phase where projects take off, they are delivered and they see them on the ground.

“Nine of our 20 ongoing high-impact community development projects are actually in Addu town…We have also made rapid progress on the iconic Big Man connectivity project, which has now moved from from design to preliminary works in less than two years. Geotechnical studies are underway and we expect groundbreaking works in the coming months,” said Jaishankar.

He said construction activities have also started on 4,000 housing units in Hulhumale as well as drinking water and sanitation projects on 34 islands. The Hanimaadhoo airport redevelopment project, MIFCO facility expansion and Hulhumale cricket stadium project are all at tender stage, he added.

“The $40 million line of credit that we secured during my last visit in February 2021 for sports infrastructure has advanced and detailed project reports are being prepared. Our people-to-people ties have become even more vibrant. India was among the top tourist sources for the Maldives in 2020 and 2021, helped by the air bubble arrangement, we will certainly strive to retain this location in the years to come,” Mr Jaishankar said.

“I am delighted that our bilateral trade has seen a number of facilitation measures including direct cargo ships serving our southern ports and the Maldives and ensuring a smooth supply of essential commodities,” said Jaishankar, who is arrived here Saturday.

The project to create police infrastructure across the islands of the Maldives with funding of over $40 million from EXIM Bank of India has received the necessary approvals, he said, adding that as part of Under this project, 61 facilities, including island and atoll-level police stations, divisions, headquarters, detention centers and barracks will soon see construction begin.

Shirlene J. Manley