Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishanker is on an official visit to Maldives and Sri Lanka from 26 to 30 March 2022.
On the first leg of his visit he visited Maldives on 26 and 27 March 2022. He met the Maldives foreign minister Abdulla Shahid and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
The President Solih assured Jaishankar that his government will follow India first policy.
What is India First Policy of Maldives
Maldives like Sri Lanka is a battleground of India and China to increase their area of influence in the region. During the previous regime of president Abdulla Yameen in Maldives,the influence of China became very strong and he followed anti- India policy. He was ousted from power in 2018 and was put in jail on corruption charges.
He is now out of jail and is leading a vehement anti-India campaign “Out India” in Maldives.
The current regime of Solih is considered a close friend of India and is following a “India First Policy”.
Highlights of the Jaishankar Visit
He met the Maldives foreign minister Abdulla Shahid at Addu City , in Maldives.
India and the Maldives also agreed to mutually recognise the COVID-19 vaccine certificates issued by each other, a move that will facilitate easier travel between the two countries and give a boost to the tourism sector.
Both countries signed an agreement linking India's National Knowledge Network and the Maldives’ Higher Education Network. National Knowledge Network is a multi-gigabit national research and education network, whose purpose is to provide a unified high speed network backbone for educational and research institutions in India. The network is managed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
Jaishankar also inaugurated a police training academy and a drug rehabilitation center built with Indian financial assistance at Addu.
Sri Lanka Visit
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar will be in Sri Lanka from 28 to 30 March 2022. He went to Sri Lanka on the invitation of the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL.Peiris.
Highlights of his visit
He met the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. He assured them of India’s help to Sri Lanka which is facing a severe economic crisis.
Since January, India has extended $2.4 billion in assistance by way of a currency swap, loan deferment and credit lines for essential imports to help Sri Lanka cope with a stifling dollar crisis and shortages.
Along with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa he virtually inaugurated the Jaffna Cultural Centre in Sri Lanka ,built with an Indian grant of $11 million.
They also virtually toured a camp in Jaffna where “Jaipur foot “ was being fitted. Jaipur Foot is an artificial low cost prosthetic foot made of rubber and it is made by Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Samiti, Jaipur.
He also attended the Foreign Ministers meeting of the BIMSTEC held on 29 March 2022.
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