Indian High Commission marks International Yoga Day

The Indian High Commission organised a special yoga session at the social centre in Malé with about 300 participants this morning to mark International Yoga Day.

Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives Rajeev Shahare gifted a book on yoga to the social centre at today’s event.

According to the high commission, a special ceremony will take place at the artificial beach tonight to conclude the yoga day activities. Health minister Iruthisham Adam and foreign minister Dunya Maumoon will attend the ceremony.

Millions of people across the world participated in activities to mark International Yoga Day today. The main took place in New Delhi, India, with Narendra Modi leading a yoga session with about 35,000 participants.

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon participated in a yoga session at New York’s time square with Indian external affairs minister Shushma Swaraj.


Indian High Commission holds cancer screening camps

The Indian High Commission to the Maldives will be hold free cancer screenings at ADK Hospital on February 4 and 5, and in Ghaafu Dhaalu Thinadhoo on February 6, as part of its health and wellness month.

In addition to the screenings, the high commission is organising a cancer awareness walk in Malé on February 4 at 4pm, in partnership with Basavatarakm Indo American Cancer Hospital (BIACH) in Hyderabad, ADK hospital, and the Cancer Society of Maldives.

The walk will be followed by yoga instruction at the artificial beach, while similar yoga workshops are to be organised in Himmafushi, Villingili, and Bandos during the month.

Last month the high commission held a number of Bollywood themed events, including a dance show, quiz, and a film festival as part of year-long celebrations of diplomatic relations with the Maldives.

“In celebration of the 50th anniversary of relations and Maldivian Independence, every month will include thematic activities as part of a year-long celebration,” said Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives Rajeev Shahare.

Other events for the wellness month include a blood donation camp held on February 27. The high commission requests everyone to register in advance for these camps by calling 763 8246.


India to hold Bollywood dance show to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations with Maldives

The Indian High Commission has announced plans to hold a Bollywood-themed dance show to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations with the Maldives.

Speaking at a function held this morning, Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives Rajeev Shahare said the high commission will hold an “entrance free, high quality dance show at Alimas Carnival Area on January 23”.

“In celebration of 50th anniversary of relations and Maldivian Independence, every month will include thematic activities part of a year long celebration. January will be our Bollywood month taking into account Maldivian love for Bollywood,” said Shahare.

The show is said to feature Mumbai based Bollywood dance troupe, Ferris Wheel Entertainment. The troupe consists of dancers for famous movies and makeup artists.

Meanwhile, other events for the month include a Bollywood Quiz – where the winner gets a Bollywood tour – and an art exhibition with art work created by Indian and Maldivian children called United Colors.

The events are sponsored by the State Trading Organization (STO), telecom provider Ooredoo, the State Bank of India and Indian infrastructure giant Tata Housing.


5,530 trained in Maldives’ largest ever ICT programme

The Indian government along with the Ministry of Education have trained 5,530 individuals in 42 islands as part of the Maldives largest ever ICT education programme.

The ‘Technology for the Future of the Next Gen’ project was conducted with US$5.3 million in Indian aid and implemented by India’s NIIT Ltd educational services company in association with Electrical Engineering Equipment Company (EEEC) of Chennai, India.

“Capacity building has been and shall remain the cornerstone of our bilateral relationship. I am sure when the seafarers of both countries fished together in the Indian Ocean several millennia back, they exchanged a tip or two about the best fishing practices,” said Indian High Commissioner Rajeev Shahare at the programme’s closing ceremony today.

“This sharing of knowledge and expertise has continued through several centuries and today India offers one of the most comprehensive training programs for Maldivians.”

Shahare said that the programme – aimed at improving the skills of teachers and providing vocational training for youth – had covered one out of every three Maldivian teachers as well as and 2,500 youngsters since January 2011.

As well as revealing positive feedback from participants, a project summary cited the Maldives Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed as saying that the crime rate had dropped by 80 to 90 percent in the atolls where the youth training was conducted.

Education Minister Dr Aishath Shaheem expressed gratitude towards Indian government for the project, highlighting the importance of such programmes to provide teachers with adequate IT skills.

Haa Dhaalu Kulhuduffushi saw the highest teacher participation with 287 teachers, while Haa Alifu Dhihdhoo saw the highest overall participation in the project with 575 participants – 401 of them receiving vocational IT training.

“Now I can create different type of teaching aids and use them effectively in my teaching. This eventually helps my student understand complex topics very easily,” read the testimony of Aminath Shahidha of Haa Dhaalu Kumundhoo School.

In his speech, the Indian high commissioner also pointed out the importance of the upcoming year, which marks the golden jubilee of Maldivian independence and 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Shahare noted that an MoU had recently been signed between the Maldives Civil Service Commission and the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad for training of Maldivian civil servants on a regular basis in India.

Training opportunities in Indian continue to be made available to the Maldivian security services, said Shahare, adding that over 5000 Maldivian students educated in India over the past decade was one of the “pillars of the strong people-to-people contacts between the two countries”.

An Indian-built tourism training faculty was opened in Malé earlier this, while the high commissioner revealed plans for similar facilities for the Maldives police and the Maldives National Defence Force.

Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval visited the Maldives earlier this week, discussing security and defence issues with government leaders as well as pledging expeditious action on all agreed steps to supply petroleum products to Maldives.

Related to this story

Tourism faculty and naval craft to be handed over during Indian minister’s visit

India – Maldives Friendship Festival kicks off

India to conduct third medical camp this year, in Huvadhoo atoll


Coastguard to conduct joint military exercise with India, Sri Lanka

The Maldives National Defence Force’s (MNDF) coastguard will be conducting the 12th edition of the ‘Dosti’ joint military exercise with the Indian and Sri Lankan coastguards from October 28 to 31.

The Indian High Commission explained in a press statement yesterday that 11 editions of the joint exercise have taken place since 1991.

The aim of India-Maldives-Sri Lanka Tri-Lateral Exercise ‘DOSTI’ is to further fortify the friendship, enhance mutual operational capability, and exercise interoperability and to build cooperation between the Coast Guards of Maldives, India and Sri Lanka,” the press release stated.

“The focus areas during Dosti-XII will be to exercise the important charter of Coast Guard duties, including Maritime Search and Rescue (M-SAR), Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Marine Pollution Response (POLRES) and Anti-piracy operations.

“For the first time the exercise will also be viewed by representatives from maritime forces of Seychelles and Mauritius.”

The military vessels involved in the exercise – two ships from the Indian coastguard, one from Sri Lanka, and two from Maldives – “will practise responding to actual emergencies of Search and Rescue, Medical evacuation and Pollution Control response at Sea which will further enhance the ability of each Coast Guard to attend to real emergencies at sea.”


Indian High Commission donates MVR 125,000 to ARC

The Indian High Commission donates MVR 125,000 (US$8,149) to children’s rights NGO Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC).

At a meeting held at the Indian High Commission, the donation was handed to ARC’s managing director Haula Ahmed Didi by the Indian High Commissioner, Rajeev Shahare.

Speaking at the ceremony, Shahare said that along with the donation there was also an agreement to train 26 special educational needs teachers at India.

“This is an area where we are very keen to help out in. India is likely to help out in this field in the future,” said the high commissioner.

Speaking from ARC, Haula said that the donation had come at a very important time for the organisation.


Tourism faculty and naval craft to be handed over during Indian minister’s visit

The Indian High Commission in the Maldives has revealed that the country’s External Affair’s Minister Salman Khurshid will hand over a naval landing craft to the Maldives National Defence Force this week.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Maldives said on Thursday that Minister Khurshid will be visiting the Maldives this week on invitation of Foreign Minister Dhunya Maumoon.

The India Maldives Friendship Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism – constructed by the Indian Government – will also be officially handed to the Maldives during the visit.

The US$11 million facility – begun in 2002 – will provide state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment for training Maldivians in tourism and hospitality sector.

“The project envisages India’s continued engagement with the institution through deputation of experts, curriculum support, and exchange of faculty from reputed hotel management institutes of India,” the Indian High Commission has stated.

Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives Rajeev Shahare stated that the visit would present an opportunity to discuss the implementation of projects agreed upon during President Abdulla Yameen’s initial official visit to India.

In addition to the handing over of these facilities to the Maldivian governement at an event planned to be held on Wednesday [February 19], External Affairs Minister Khurshid will also be participating in the SAARC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting scheduled to be held in the Maldives on February 20.


“Time tested” Indo-Maldivian ties to be celebrated during ‘Dosti- Ekuverikan’ week

The Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives today described President Abdulla Yameen’s visit to India as a “huge success”, as details of the India-Maldives ‘Dosti-Ekuverikan’ week were revealed.

“Many glowing accounts have been made of the visit – and rightly so…If I can quote what has been stated by various leaders in India, that a new chapter has been opened in the India-Maldives bilateral ties,” said Rajeev Shahare.

The High Commissioner as media were briefed on the series of cultural events between January 20 and January 26, celebrating the partners’ friendship.

The week – serving as a precursor to the golden jubilee celebrations of bilateral ties beginning in November – will feature film, music, and healthcare events.

Updating media on the state visit at the start of this month, Shahare stated that the positive reception received by President Yameen “reflects the strong, robust, time-tested ties between India and Maldives – dating back to several millenia.”

“The recent visit of the honourable President Yameen further underscores the depth of our ties, the strength of our ties, and also how two countries have always partnered each other,” he added.

Upon Yameen’s return, the trip was lauded as a cure-all for recent tensions between the two states – with former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom describing current ties as being as strong as during his thirty year tenure.

Shahare noted that there was a “very useful” business forum on the sidelines of the visit, organised by the three apex chambers of Indian business.

Yameen’s calls for Indian businesses to invest in the Maldives had already resulted in interest being shown by two Indian companies in the Malé-Hulhumalé bridge project, said the High Commissioner.

During a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Yameen was asked about the possibility of an amicable settlement in the GMR airport development dispute.

Indian infrastructure giant GMR’s 25-year concession agreement to develop Ibrahim Nasir International Airport was prematurely terminated by the previous administration – with whom Yameen’s Progressive Party of Maldives was aligned.

GMR’s  US$1.4 billion compensation case continues in Singapore whilst the Government of Maldives’ plans for continued development of the airport continue. Yameen has welcomed a return to the Maldives in the future, whilst maintaining that the airport must remain in government hands.

Dosti – Ekuverikan

Revealing details of this month’s friendship programme, the Indian High Commissioner stated that the events were intended to showcase the pair’s strong ties, and also to “bring forward what we intend to do in Maldives.”

After an inaugural event on January 20, Dosti-Ekuverikan week will begin with an Indian food festival at Traders Hotel. The ‘Taste of India’ festival will feature buffet servings from different regions of India over five nights.

A film festival will also be held at Schwack cinema from January 22-24.

Noting that the Indian government recognises that health care is a priority for the current Maldivian administration, the Dosti week will include a free eye camp at IGMH and in Hulhumalé, as well as blood donation camps at the National Thalassemia Centre in Malé.

“We will be getting a four member opthamological team. Two eye surgeons and two technicians will come here…This eye camp will render a free check-up, will also provide free spectacles/glasses, and will also perform minor surgeries,” explained Shahare.

There will also be a yoga camp at the artificial beach on January 23.

Full schedule

  • Inauguration of Dosti-Ekuverikan week – January 20
  • ‘Taste of India’ food festival at Traders Hotel – January 21-25
  • Indian film festival at Schwack Cinemas – January 22-24
  • Yoga workshops at artificial beach area – January 23
  • Indian cultural evening at Dharubaaruge – January 24
  • Indian music festival featuring Indian group ‘What’s in the name’ – January 24-26
  • Free eye camps at IGMH – January 24-26
  • Blood donation camps as National Centre for Thalassemia – January 24
  • DOSTI quiz 2014 – January 24
  • National Art competition 2014, for all schoolchildren – January 15-31
  • Closing ceremony at Dharubaaruge – January 26

Man arrested for vandalism of Indian High Commissioner’s Car

The police have arrested a 22 year-old suspect in connection with the vandalism of the Indian High Commissioner’s Car on Monday (October 28).

The police obtained a warrant from the Criminal Court to arrest the man, but have not provided any further details on the case. The case is being investigated by the Serious and Organised Crime Department.

The rear window of High Commissioner Rajeeve Shahare’s car was smashed on Monday evening whilst parked outside of the High Commission in Male’.

A statement released by the Indian High Commission described the attack, noting that a police officer was observed by High Commission security staff as witnessing the attack but failing to react.

“The Indian High Commission security guards observed on the close circuit TV that the culprit purposefully approached the Indian flag car, pelted two metallic objects at the car one of which smashed the rear windshield, and ran away thereafter,” said the statement.

“It is evident that there was malicious intention to cause damage to the property and perhaps to the occupant of the car. Importantly, the High Commissioner was in the car just a few minutes before the attack,” it continued.

The President’s Office on October 29 assured that such “cowardly” attacks against foreign diplomatic personnel and property would not be tolerated.

“The close and friendly relation that exists between the Maldives and India is based on mutual respect, understanding and reinforced by a shared vision of a better future for our people,” it said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also expressed concern over the attack on the diplomatic vehicle.

“The Ministry wishes to call on all members of the public to refrain from activities that might undermine the close friendly relations that exist between Maldives and its close and friendly neighbours,” the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday (October 29).

The Maldives’ traditionally close ties with India have come under increasing strain under the current government, with the cancellation of a deal to develop Ibrahim Nasir International Airport  in December 2012 the most contentious issue.

The 25-year, US$500million, lease signed with Indian infrastructure company GMR was terminated after a long and at times xenophobic campaign from government-aligned parties.

The campaign sparked a diplomatic row after President’s Office spokesman Abbas Adil Riza accused Indian High Commissioner D.M. Mulay of being a “traitor and enemy of the Maldives and the Maldivian people”.

The President’s Office quickly distanced itself from these remarks. Both men have since left their posts.

GMR is currently seeking US$1.4billion in compensation in a Singaporean court of arbitration – a figure greater than the Maldives’ annual state budget.

On February 15 this year, the Indian government revoked a special quota afforded to the Maldives for the import of aggregate and river sand, resulting in a weakening of the construction sector in 2013.

The Indian High Commission itself became the scene of political drama as former President Nasheed temporarily sought refuge inside the diplomatic mission after police attempted to arrest him to ensure his appearance in court.

Following Monday’s attack, the Maldivian Democratic Party described the rhetoric of the past few months as “hate mongering targeting Indian officials.”