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Highlights of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visit to Maldives and Mauritius

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S Jaishankarto embark on a four-day visit to the MaldivesThe Union Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India had a four-day visit to Maldives and Mauritius on February 20-21, 2021 and February 22-23, 2021 respectively.

  • Notably, both the Maldives and Mauritius are India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and occupy a special place in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region).

Visit to Maldives:

On the invitation of Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives, S. Jaishankar visited Maldives where the latter was received at Velana International Airport by the former along with Minister of State (MoS) for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Khaleel, Foreign Secretary Abdul Gafoor Mohamed and Maldivian High Commissioner to India Hussain Niyaz.

  • It is his second official visit to the Maldives, following his visit to attend the 5th Indian Ocean Conference in 2019.
  • In Maldives he met its President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and had discussions with the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Defence, Finance, Economic Development and Planning and Infrastructure.
  • He reviewed the entire gamut of our bilateral ties as well as progress of ongoing bilateral projects and hold discussions on the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

India, Maldives sign 5 deals and handed over 1 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccines

India handed over 100,000 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Maldives.It is to be noted that, Maldives is the first country where Indian-made COVID vaccines landed and also inked 5 pacts for its development viz.

  • The Second Amendatory Dollar Credit Line Agreement
  • Geydhoshu Fish processing plant in N. Kendhikulhudhoo
  • Cooperation in the Field of Sustainable Urban Development
  • Cooperation and Collaboration in Broadcasting
  • Letter of Intent (LoI) between the Fahi Dhiriulhun Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of India

Second Amendatory Dollar Credit Line Agreement

  • Amendatory Agreement to repurpose an older EXIM Bank of India Line of Credit of USD 25 million for Road Development.

Geydhoshu Fish processing plant in N. Kendhikulhudhoo

  • MoU on grant funding USD 0.5 million for a fish processing plant in Kendhikulhudhoo in northern Maldives.

Cooperation in the Field of Sustainable Urban Development

  • MoU on sustainable urban development between Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Ministry of national planning, housing and infrastructure, Maldives were also inked.

Letter of Intent (LoI) between the Fahi Dhiriulhun Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of India

  • Letter of Intent (LOI) has been signed between Exim Bank of India and Fahi Dhiriulhun Corporation Limited on 20th February 2021. The LOI is to facilitate financing for Fahi Dhiriulhun NBCC Housing Project for which the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) was signed on 2nd February 2021. Under this project, 2000 housing units are planned to be developed in Hulhumale’ phase 2.

Cooperation and Collaboration in Broadcasting

  • MoU on capacity building and exchange of content and expertise between Prasar Bharati and Public State Media, Maldives signed.

India announces USD 40mn LoC to boost sports infrastructure in Maldives at Ekuveni Stadium

  • Jaishankar also announced a USD 40 million standalone LoC to boost sports infrastructure in the Maldives during at an event at the Ekuveni Stadium.

Exim Bank extends LOC worth USD 50mn to Maldives

India also extended a $50-million line of credit (LoC) to the Maldives for defence projects. In this regard, an agreement between India’s EXIM Bank and the Maldivian government for the defence line of credit will facilitate capability building in the maritime domain.

An LoC was also inked for developing the harbour at Uthuru Thila Falhu naval base.

Key Points:

–Both sides agreed to further strengthen coordination in combatting cross border terrorism.

–The Indian Union Minister on behalf of India has reiterated its support to the candidature of Maldives Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid for the President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly next year.

Additional Info:

–India is Maldives’ fourth-largest trade partner after the UAE, China and Singapore.

Indian imports from the Maldives mainly comprise scrap metals while Indian exports to the Maldives include a variety of engineering and industrial products like drugs and medicines radar apparatus, rock boulders, aggregates, cement and agriculture products like rice, spices, fruits, vegetables and poultry products.

Visit to Mauritius:

After the Maldives visit, he visited Mauritius.

India and Mauritius sign Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement

He inked the India-Mauritius Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA). It was signed by Dr Anup Wadhawan, Commerce Secretary, Government of India, and Ambassador Mr. Haymandoyal Dillum, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Government of Mauritius in Port Louis in the presence of Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth, and S. Jaishankar.

  • It is a first trade Agreement signed by India with a country in Africa.
  • It is a limited trade agreement which will cover trade in goods, rules of origin, trade in services, technical barriers to trade (TBT), sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, dispute settlement, movement of natural persons, telecom, financial services, customs procedures and cooperation in other areas.
  • The agreement will cover 310 export items for India including food items, beverages, electrical products, telecommunication, and a variety of other items such as sea food.
  • Indian service providers will have access to around 115 sub-sectors from the 11 broad service sectors.

India handed over 100,000 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Mauritius.

India offers $100 mn credit line to Mauritius to procure defence assets

  • India offered a USD 100 million line of credit to Mauritius to facilitate procurement of defence assets .
  • The two sides also exchanged letters on provision of Dornier aircraft and Dhruv helicopter by India to step up Mauritius’ maritime monitoring capabilities.
  • They welcomed the exchange of cooperation instruments on construction of Renal Transplant Unit, Solar Power Plant and on Consumer Protection & Legal Metrology.

Jai Shankar inaugurates new chancery building of Indian High Commission in Mauritius 

EAM of India, Jai Shankar inaugurated the new High Commission building in Mauritius. This green & efficient project reflects New India.

Recent Related News:

i.India’s most vulnerable channel for annual tax loss is taxes lost to other countries i.e. outward foreign direct investments (OFDI) with a 66% vulnerability score. The trading partners of India which contribute most to this factor are Mauritius (23.6%), Singapore (17.2%), and the Netherlands (11.2%).

ii.The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between the Indian and Japan that pertains to sending Indian “Specified Skilled Worker” to Japan.

About Mauritius:
Capital– Port Louis
Currency– Mauritian rupee

About Maldives:
Capital– Male
Currency– Maldivian rufiyaa