New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) India and Maldives on Friday discussed expanding their bilateral cooperation and mutual interests in areas of security and law enforcement cooperation, officials said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and his Maldivian counterpart Sheikh Imran Abdulla discussed these issues among other specific points related to both the countries here in day long meet in presence of delegation from both sides.
It was Shah's first meeting with Abdulla, who is on a four-day visit to India beginning on Thursday.
During the meeting, the two sides discussed issues of mutual interest in the area of security and law enforcement cooperation, a Home Ministry official said.
Both the Ministers welcomed the expansion of bilateral cooperation between their counties in diverse fields including policing and law enforcement, counter-terrorism, counter-radicalisation, against organised crime and drug trafficking and in capacity building.
The meeting was also attended by the Maldives' Minister of State for Home, the Union Home Secretary and other senior officers from both sides.
The Maldivian delegation also met the Director General, National Investigation Agency (NIA), Director, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the Director General, Central Bureau of Investigation, and Director, Enforcement Directorate.
Prior to arriving in Delhi, the delegation also visited the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad and Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar.
India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links steeped in antiquity. Except for a brief period between February 2012 and November 2018, relations between the two countries have been close, cordial and multi-dimensional.
India was among the first to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965 and to establish diplomatic relations with the country.
Proximity of Maldives to the west coast of India (it is barely 70 nautical miles away from Minicoy and 300 nautical miles away from India's West coast), and its situation at the hub of commercial sea-lanes running through the Indian Ocean and its potential to allow a third nation's naval presence in the area imbues it with significant strategic importance to India.