Modi, Maldives Prez Agree to Further Enhance Ties, Trade

India and the Maldives today discussed ways to strengthen investment and trade cooperation during a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Abdullah Yameen here.

During a 30-minute meeting, Modi and Yameen agreed that each side would continue to be sensitive to the concerns of the other and not allow their territories to be used by any quarter for any activity inimical to the other, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said.

Modi stressed on the high importance attached by India to its relations with the Maldives and pledged to work towards further enhancing bilateral cooperation during the talks with Yameen, who along with other SAARC leaders attended the swearing-in ceremony of the BJP leader yesterday.

Prime Minister Modi expressed his government's support for cooperation in the petroleum and natural gas sector, particularly in oil exploration, as well as in the tourism and education sectors.

Briefing reporters, Singh said it was agreed to take measures to further strengthen investment and trade cooperation as well as cooperation in projects that would strengthen regional and sub-regional transport and connectivity to mutual advantage.

The remarks assume significance given the GMR fiasco one- and-a-half years ago in the Maldives when the government there unilaterally annulled the over USD 500 million Male international airport modernisation project that had been awarded to the Indian firm by the previous Maldivian regime.

Meanwhile, during his meeting with Bangladesh Parliament Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Modi appreciated the cooperation extended by Bangladesh to working together with India in all areas of mutual interest, including security, power, border management, rail and road transport.

He expressed the commitment of the Government of India in maintaining and building upon the momentum that has characterised India-Bangladesh relations in recent years.

Asked if the issue of the Teesta agreement was raised, Singh said, "The Teesta was raised and the Prime Minister said he will see how he can can" do that.

Replying to another query on land boundary agreement, she said, "Yes, the Speaker raised it and the Prime Minister responded by saying, 'Let's see'".

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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