Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has reiterated India’s commitment to continue to strengthen bilateral defence relations with Maldives. Meeting with Maldivian Minister of Defence and National Security H.E. Mohamed Nazim here today, Shri Antony conveyed continued support to the strengthening of medical facilities and expertise for the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). During the meeting, training of Maldivian medical specialists in India, deputation of Indian Armed Forces medical specialists to Maldives and strengthening of medical infrastructure in Maldives were among the proposals discussed. Shri Antony also announced that all MNDF personnel will henceforth be eligible for treatment in Armed Forces medical institutions in India for major surgeries and for treatment of major and serious illnesses. The Maldivian Defence Minister conveyed his appreciation of the assistance being provided by India in this regard.
Both Ministers also discussed and agreed to pursue measures to enhance interactions between the Armed Forces of both countries. The continued conduct of bilateral exercise was discussed and it was agreed that the next joint exercise between both sides will be held in 2014.
During the one hour long meeting, both Defence Ministers discussed a number of issues relating to regional security and matters pertaining to bilateral defence cooperation between both countries. The Maldivian Defence Minister was accompanied by the Maldivian High Commissioner to India and senior officers of the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF). From the Indian side, Defence Secretary, Vice Chief of Naval Staff and senior officers of the Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs were present at the meeting.
Earlier, the Maldivian Defence Minister laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti and was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour.
The visiting dignitary will also be visiting Kochi on 14 December, 2013 and would be visiting naval facilities under the Southern Naval Command. During the visit, an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) manufactured by HAL will also be symbolically handed over to the MNDF in the presence of the Minister. The ALH is expected to be positioned in Male by early 2014 and would be the second ALH to be provided to Maldives.