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.
- 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