to WION from Male Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya said, "It is my first
trip to India as the Maldivian Minister for Defence and I look forward to
fruitful discussions with my Indian counterpart Hon Nirmala Sitharaman. As
someone who believes in gender equality, I am excited. I understand this is the
first time in the history of the region that there is going to be a meeting
between two female defence ministers.”
Maldivian Defence Minister
Mariya Didi is coming to India for an official visit from January 23 to 30.
This is going to be her first visit after taking charge as country's defence
minister under Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's government in November of 2018.
With regard to the security
cooperation between India and Maldives, she said, “From time immemorial we have
traditionally enjoyed close ties with India. I believe it is in our respective
self-interest to continue to do so. Our security co-operation helps to keep us
safe and combats a variety of problems from fish poaching to piracy and
comes a month after Maldivian foreign minister Abdulla Shahid and President
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih visited India, making her trip the third high-level
visit from the new Maldivian government since November 2018.
President Solih's India visit in December, India had announced financial
assistance up to $1.4 billion to the island nation further cementing the
ties between the SAARC member-states.
under former President Abdulla Yameen's administration and New Delhi had
suffered, especially since Yameen junked 'Ïndia First' policy by substituting
it with a pro-Beijing policy. Yameen even went to the extent of annoying India
by asking New Delhi to take back 2 helicopters it had gifted to Maldives.
Speaking to WION, immediately after taking charge, Mariya had said the
helicopters will not be given back and "It’s not in our culture to ask
neighbours to take back what they give."
had visited the Maldives in November 2018 to take part in the swearing-in
ceremony of President Solih. During the bilateral meeting, both the leaders
agreed on the "importance of maintaining peace and security in the Indian
Ocean" and "being mindful of each other’s concerns and aspirations
for the stability of the region."