India, Maldives hold Defence Minister-level talks



New Delhi: India and Maldives today agreed to enhance their defence cooperation and continue to work together to tackle regional security concerns at the Defence Minister-level talks between the two sides on Monday.

During the meeting between Defence Minister A K Antony and his Maldivian counterpart Colonel Mohamed Nazim, the Indian side "conveyed that India stands committed to enhance the ongoing defence and security partnership with Maldives."

"Both sides also agreed that there is a need for India and Maldives to continue to work together to tackle security concerns in the interests of peace and stability in the region," the Defence Ministry said in a release.

The two Ministers reviewed the ongoing exchanges between the two sides in training, exercises and strengthening of infrastructure and capabilities and agreed that "as close neighbours sharing common security concerns, there is scope to further develop the relationship in mutually agreed areas."

This is the first visit by a senior Maldivian Minister to India after the recent political turbulence there due to a tussle between the Md Waheed government and former President Mohammed Nasheed which had brought bilateral relations under strain.

During Antony's Male visit last year, India had pushed for installation of more coastal radars in the Indian Ocean sland nation.

Before the talks begun today, Antony said he and his Maldivian counterpart would take forward the deliberations they had in Male last year.

Nazim is also expected to meet the three Services chiefs, officials said. Soon after Antony's visit to Male, Nazim had gone to Beijing where the two sides decided to expand military cooperation.

PTI