Expressing its "vulnerability", Maldives has sought India's assistance in key area of counter- terrorism and the chief of its National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) will travel to India from August 29 to discuss the specific requirements in this regard.
Expressing its “vulnerability”, Maldives has sought India’s assistance in key area of counter- terrorism and the chief of its National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) will travel to India from August 29 to discuss the specific requirements in this regard.
Maldivian Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim also described India as a “solid friend” and assured that Maldives will not undertake any activity that will jeopardise security of the Indian Ocean.
The request by Maldives for intelligence sharing, capacity building and skill development assumes significance in view of increasing threat from Islamic State and reports of radicalisation of Maldivian youth with the government there maintaining that about 50 locals have joined ISIS.
“The issue was discussed in detail during the visit of Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Counter-Terrorism Asif Abrahim to Maldives last month and will be taken forward during the visit of NCTC chief’s visit here,” Maldivian Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim told PTI in an interview.
“Because of our small size, we are very venerable and we have sought India’s help in strengthening our mechanisms to tackle threats of terrorism,” Asim said.
The two countries have already inked the Defence Action Plan during Abdulla Yameen’s visit here in April. Cooperation in counter terrorism is one of key component of the pact.
Apart from cooperation in counter-terrorism, the minister, during his wide-ranging interview, talked about Maldives’ efforts to get foreign investments and his country’s relationship with China.
Asked about apprehensions in India over increasing Chinese presence in various projects in Maldives including infrastructure sector, he said they were purely economic engagements and “Maldives will not undertake any activity which will jeopardise security of the Indian Ocean.” Asim, who recently concluded his visit here during which he held discussions with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, said his first official trip was to “take stock of bilateral ties, explore new areas of cooperation and articulate his government’s position on several domestic developments”.
The Maldivian minister also talked about various steps taken by his government including setting up of domestic arbitration law and establishing special economic zones to boost investors confidence.
Maldives and Indian infrastructure company GMR are currently fighting an arbitration case in Singapore after Maldives cancelled the over USD 500 million contract unilaterally.
In a bid to woo Indian investors, Maldives is also holding an investment forum later this year in India, Asim said, adding before the meet, economic affairs minister of Maldives will travel here.