New Delhi [India]March 3 (ANI): Maldives Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid said on Friday that “freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean is a must”, saying the country will do everything possible to maintain peace and stability in the region.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Abdulla Shahid said: “Freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean is a must because it connects countries and the location of the Maldives is critical.”
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“The Maldives is located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, which is why for us a peaceful, prosperous and stable Indian Ocean is of utmost importance and we will do everything possible to ensure that it is maintained,” he added.
If there is any instability in the region, the Maldives will be the first to be affected, he said.
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“Because of the instability in the Indian Ocean, we will be the first to be affected, that’s why we are working with our neighbors including Sri Lanka, India, Mauritius and Bangladesh to have the Indian Ocean Rim Association work together to bring everyone together because it It is in our interest to preserve the prosperity of the Indian Ocean,” he said.
Asked further about how Maldives compares to India and China, he said Maldives is friend of all but enemy of no one.
“For the Maldives, India is special, our foreign policy is based on ‘India first’, but we have no enemies, we work with everyone. China has been a development partner of the Maldives for a long time. They have been generous and you can find them in A lot of projects see their aid and soft loans through China, and you will also see a lot of projects and soft loans from the Middle East and different parts of the world. So, the Maldives is not anyone’s enemy, but everyone’s friend,” he explain.
Earlier on Thursday, India welcomed the foreign ministers of Bhutan, Croatia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Sweden to New Delhi for the eighth Raisina Dialogue.
Bhutanese Foreign Minister Dr. Tandi Dorji, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Glick Radman, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabri and Swedish Foreign Minister Toby Erce Bielstrom attends India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geostrategy. (Arnie)
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