Male, February 21: India and the Maldives on Sunday agreed to further strengthen coordination in enhancing regional maritime security, combatting cross border terrorism and maintaining peace in the region to ensure freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with top Maldivian leadership including his counterpart Abdulla Shahid in a warm and friendly atmosphere, reflective of the renewed dynamism over the past two years in the traditionally close relationship, said a joint statement issued at the end of his two-day visit.
Underscoring the importance of defence and security cooperation, both ministers agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region, it said.
“They further agreed to strengthen coordination in enhancing regional maritime security, including on combatting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including cross border terrorism and maintaining peace in the region to ensure freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean,” the joint statement said.
It said the two ministers also agreed to work together to convene the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, countering Violent Extremism and De-radicalisation at the earliest.
According to a recent report of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the threat posed by the Islamic State, the terror group’s new leader Shihab al-Muhajir reportedly heads ISIS operations in Afghanistan, India, Maldives, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and States in Central Asia.
He is said to have had an earlier affiliation with and to maintain familial ties to the Haqqani Network, which is accused of targeting Indian interests in Afghanistan. (PTI)