NSA Doval discusses bilateral partnership with Maldivian Defence Minister

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Colombo: National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met Defence Minister of Maldives Mariya Didi to discuss deepening bilateral partnership between India and the key island nation in the Indian Ocean. The cordial and detailed discussion included talks on defence and security of the two countries. 

Sri Lanka is the host country of the fourth national security advisory trilateral meeting on maritime security cooperation with India and the Maldives. On Friday, Ajit Doval arrived in Colombo for the trilateral maritime dialogue. The meeting is taking place after six years as the last one was held in New Delhi in 2014.

The high-level engagement covers a variety of subjects and is set up to initiate collective action on maritime security. A broad range of issues such as maritime domain awareness, legal regimes, train in search and rescue operations, maritime pollution response, information sharing, curbing piracy drugs, arms and contraband trafficking in the Indian Ocean region are discussed as part of the meeting. 

The External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi said on Thursday that the NSA-level trilateral meeting acted as an effective platform for cooperation among the Indian Ocean countries. In a statement, the MEA said, “the meeting will provide an opportunity for discussion on issues pertaining to cooperation in maritime security in the Indian Ocean region.”

The meeting is taking place at a crucial point in time as China attempts to spread its influence in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region. For China, Maldives is the key to its Maritime Silk Road project in the Indian Ocean as the East Asian country has already taken over the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka and Djibouti located in the Horn of Africa.

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