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Maldives looks to ‘solid friend’ India to help counter terror

Maldivian Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim has also described India as a “solid friend” and assured that Maldives will not undertake any activity that will jeopardise security of the Indian Ocean.  

Expressing its “vulnerability,” Maldives has sought India’s assistance in key area of counter- terrorism and the chief of its National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) will travel to India from August 29 to discuss the specific requirements in this regard.

Maldivian Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim has also described India as a “solid friend” and assured that Maldives will not undertake any activity that will jeopardise security of the Indian Ocean.

The request by Maldives for intelligence sharing, capacity building and skill development assumes significance in view of increasing threat from Islamic State (IS) and reports of radicalisation of Maldivian youth with the government there maintaining that about 50 locals have joined the dreaded outfit.

“The issue was discussed in detail during the visit of Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Counter-Terrorism Asif Abrahim to Maldives last month and will be taken forward during the visit of NCTC chief’s visit here,” Mr. Mohamed Asim told PTI in an interview.

Size matters

“Because of our small size, we are very venerable and we have sought India’s help in strengthening our mechanisms to tackle threats of terrorism,” Mr. Asim said.

The two countries have already inked the Defence Action Plan during Abdulla Yameen’s visit here in April. Cooperation in counter terrorism is one of key component of the pact.

Foreign investments

Apart from cooperation in counter-terrorism, the Minister, during his wide-ranging interview, talked about Maldives’ efforts to get foreign investments and his country’s relationship with China.

Asked about apprehensions in India over increasing Chinese presence in various projects in Maldives including infrastructure sector, he said they were purely economic engagements and “Maldives will not undertake any activity which will jeopardise security of the Indian Ocean.”

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 12:07:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Maldives-looks-to-%E2%80%98solid-friend%E2%80%99-India-to-help-counter-terror/article14576221.ece

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