Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid on Saturday spoke at the India Today Conclave-South. The session was called, “Neighbourhood Navigation: The Common Water: Old Ties, New Strategies.”
Speaking at the session, Minister Shahid highlighted India’s support in overcoming the immense difficulties brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“A large part of our resilience-building has been due to the unwavering support of our international partners. And India, is, as it has always been, our first, and best responder. From assisting in the evacuation of our nationals from Wuhan, when the pandemic started, to the supply of essential medicines, as well as deployment of Rapid Response Teams in the early days of the pandemic, supported our initial responses.”
He went on to reiterate the importance of a collaborative effort in maintaining order in the region.
“A collaborative approach to maintaining a rules-based, inclusive order in the Indian Ocean is key – one that brings all the countries of the region together. Recent developments, such as IORA’s Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security, the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium and the Galle Dialogue, are encouraging signs of strong commitment towards establishing a formal set of mechanisms for a multilateral approach in maintaining order in the Indian Ocean Region.”
The Minister added that, despite Maldives’ size, plays a significant role in the Indian Ocean region in terms of trade and communication.
“The Maldives is the heart of the Indian Ocean,” he said. “The major sea lines of communication in the Indian Ocean go through the Maldives. Nearly 100,000 vessels pass through the Indian Ocean every year. This is equal to almost 10 billion tonnes of cargo, including 36 million barrels of oil per day – more than 65 percent of the world’s oil trade.”
He concluded by stating that the Maldives-India partnership continues to remain integral to the stability of maritime security in the Indian Ocean, and that is why this investment will persist.