Continuing India’s capacity building assistance in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on Day 02 of his three-day visit, handed over a Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) and a Landing Craft Assault ship to the Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF). In Sri Lanka, Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal V. R. Chaudhari donated AN-32 transport aircraft propellers to Commander Sri Lanka Air Force at Katunayake Air Base.
“India has emerged as a leading defence exporter in recent years. A defence manufacturing ecosystem has been created which has the advantage of abundant technical manpower. We produce world-class equipment to meet not only our own needs, but also for exports. India offers an enhanced defence partnership to friendly foreign countries, that is accommodative of their national priorities and capacities,” Mr. Singh said at the formal handover ceremony. “We wish to create symbiotic relationships where we can learn from each other, grow together and create a win-win situation for all. India’s commitment to support the Maldives will only get stronger with time.”
He defined the handing of the two platforms as a symbol of the shared commitment of India and the Maldives towards peace and security in the IOR. The FPV, capable of coastal and offshore surveillance at high speeds, was commissioned as MNDF Coast Guard ship Huravee.
In recent years, India has significantly scaled up assistance towards capacity building and capability enhancement for Indian Ocean littoral states and countries in the IOR.
Mr. Singh called for collaborative efforts to deal with common challenges faced by IOR, including climate change and sustainable exploitation of maritime resources. He also called for enhanced cooperation among nations in the IOR to address the common challenges faced by the region and identified sustainable exploitation of resources and climate change as the most important common challenges faced by the region.
“The Indian Ocean is our shared space. The primary responsibility for peace, stability and prosperity in the region rests with those who live in the region. Peace and security of a region are best secured with cooperation and collaboration of the regional players,” he said.
On climate change, Mr. Singh said that it has a huge impact on the maritime environment and its effects can pose challenges for taking forward national and regional aspirations, especially noting that Maldives is particularly exposed to the vagaries of climate change. “India has been the first responder in a large number of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) requirements in the region in the past many years. We look forward to building upon each other’s expertise by collaborative engagement,” he said.
On Monday, Mr. Singh held talks with his Maldivian counterpart Mariya Ahmed Didi and Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid. He later called on the President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and the discussions were held on ongoing projects and ways to further strengthen defence ties, the Defence Ministry said.