India’s foreign secretary arrives in Maldives


Male/New Delhi:  Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar arrived in the Maldivian capital on Monday, as part of interactions with South Asian neighbors.

India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson, Vikas Swarup tweeted:

Jaishankar is scheduled to meet Vice President, Ahmed Adeeb, Foreign Minister, Dunya Maumoon and other leading members of several governmental institutions and political parties.

Jaishankar was greeted at the Male airport by his Maldivian counterpart, Ali Naseer, after which the two held talks.

The visit comes days after the Maldivian parliament passed a bill allowing foreign investors with a minimum of $1 billion to lease land in the Indian Ocean atoll nation on a freehold basis.

The move has caused concern in India as China has a major presence in the Maldives.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who skipped the Maldives on his Indian Ocean tour in March, greeted the people of Maldives on July 26 on their 50th Independence Day, calling the country India’s “valued partner”.

India has voiced concern over the sentencing of former president Mohamad Nasheed, who has been sentenced to 13 years in jail on terrorism charges.