International Affairs


Your Excellency President Gayoom,

Madame Nasreena Gayoom,Distinguished guests from the Maldives,Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to India. You are a friend of India of long standing who have personally steered the course of India-Maldives relations to their present exemplary level. India is going through great social and technological changes and major economic reforms. We are happy to share these experiences with our friends in order to enhance our understanding of each other. We wish Your Excellency, Madame Gayoom and the members of your delegation a pleasant and rewarding stay in our country. Excellency, we in India felicitate you on your long and distinguished service to the people of Maldives. Your re-election in 1998 to a fifth term in office under the terms of a new and carefully crafted Constitution bears testimony to the success of your leadership.

The Maldives today enjoys a high human development index and the highest per capita income in our region. Your Excellency’s personal vision and the pragmatic policies followed by your government have provided the framework for the rapid socio-economic development of your nation. The stability enjoyed by the Maldives has enabled your people to adapt to change and to the forces of modernisation. The enthusiasm with which Maldivian voters participated in the People’s Majlis elections last November testifies to the value that your people attach to the process of democracy. Excellency, we have watched with keen interest the efforts of your Government to meet the changing needs and aspirations of your people.

We understand your sustained efforts to blend the abiding values of the past with the challenges of the present. While doing so, you have also maintained the national and cultural identity of the Maldives. We too are seeking to sustain such an equilibrium and have something to learn from your experience, particularly for the development of our island territories. Excellency, your presence here is an affirmation of the deep bonds of friendship, goodwill and mutual respect that our two countries share. For us the Maldives is the closest neighbour, a strategic jewel set in the Indian Ocean. We enjoy a relationship free of tensions.

To be a partner in Maldives’ socio-economic development has been our privilege. We are glad that projects such as the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital and the Maldives Institute of Technical Education have made a tangible contribution to the health care and vocational training facilities available to your people. In the field of higher education, a diversified technical assistance programme covering general and professional degree courses in India is already in place. We are to start implementing agreements to provide Maldivian youth with greater access to quality higher education in India, including distance education through the Indira Gandhi National Open University.

Excellency, we share the emphasis that you place on Human Resource Development. You can count on our continued readiness to share our facilities in these areas, including access to our institutions of higher learning. Our co-operation in the fields of security and defence has also grown steadily. We are now initiating proposals to deal with fresh challenges such as the threat posed by drug trafficking and by marine pollution. Excellency, India has always worked to build a relationship of peace, friendship and co-operation with all its neighbours. At the same time we are fully conscious of the serious threat that terrorism poses to civilized societies and to international peace and security. We have been a victim of state-sponsored cross-border terrorism for over a decade.

With our friendly neighbours, we share perceptions on the common threat from terrorism with its linkages to illicit trade in drugs, arms and money laundering. We hope that we can work together with the Maldives and other friendly countries, for an early adoption of a comprehensive international convention on terrorism. Excellency, India and the Maldives are linked by the profound bonds of geography, history and culture. People-to-people contacts are growing. We share our resources and ideas in a spirit of goodwill. We in India are committed to a relationship of abiding friendship with the Maldives, founded on mutual trust and support which I believe is a model for other countries

I am hopeful, Excellency, that your current visit will give a new impetus to the relation between India and Maldives and impart even more substance and momentum to our relations so as to promote progress and harmony in our region.

Thank you

Jai Hind