Male: The Maldives accords the highest respect to India`s interests and status as a global leader, President Abdulla Yameen has said as he reaffirmed his country`s commitment to further strengthening bilateral ties.
During a 30-minute meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday, Yameen expressed confidence that the long-standing close relations between the Maldives and India would continue to be further strengthened under Modi`s tenure.
"In shaping Maldivian foreign policy, India`s interests and status as a global leader would continue to be accorded the highest respect," Yameen was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his office here.
Yameen also noted that the invitation extended to the leaders of SAARC, particularly Pakistan`s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was indicative of the significance accorded to the regional organisation by Prime Minister Modi.
The statement quoted Prime Minister Modi as saying that all SAARC countries should prioritise strengthening regional relations in order to mutually realise their developmental aspirations, and contribute to the prosperity and security of the South Asian region.
Modi also expressed his government`s commitment to providing further higher education opportunities to Maldivian students, while also lending the Indian government`s full support to the tourism sector in the Maldives.
President Yameen noted that India was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with the Maldives following its independence in 1965, highlighting the strong historical ties between the two nations.
Yameen along with other SAARC leaders had attended the swearing-in ceremony of Modi on Monday in New Delhi.
India and the Maldives also discussed ways to strengthen investment and trade cooperation during the meeting.