India ready to work with Maldives on strengthening maritime security: President

New Delhi, Dec 17 (PTI) India stands ready to work with Maldives to strengthen maritime security and help expedite inclusion of its Indian Ocean neighbour in the Commonwealth again, President Ram Nath Kovind said Monday. Welcoming newly-elected Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Kovind said along with strengthening bilateral relations, both countries must also enhance partnership on global issues. "Climate change needs urgent attention and action. We are deeply concerned of its impact, and especially so on Maldives and other small island states that are most vulnerable to it," he said. The president said India is honoured that Solih has chosen to visit the country on his first State Visit and that too, within a month of assuming office. Later, speaking at the banquet hosted in the honour of Solih in Rashtrapati Bhavan in the evening, Kovind said peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region is a shared responsibility of both countries. "India accords the highest importance to its relations with Maldives and wishes to see a democratic, stable, prosperous and peaceful Maldives," he said. The president said terrorism, piracy and drug trafficking are a constant threat to peace-loving societies of both countries. "India stands ready to work with Maldives to strengthen maritime security and to bring progress and prosperity to our people," he said. Welcoming Maldives into the Indian Ocean Rim Association as its newest member, Kovind said India invites the country to join the International Solar Alliance and strengthen global efforts to tackle climate change. "We are encouraged by your government's decision to rejoin the Commonwealth. We will work together with Maldives to facilitate and expedite the process," he said. Kovind said India appreciates Solih's vision of inclusive development based on the laudable principles of good governance. "Your government's vision of a transparent and rules-based approach to growth and development has given a boost to investor confidence in your country. We compliment your government's ambitious plan to transform the lives of the Maldivian people by giving a human face to the task of economic development," he said. Kovind said India would be privileged to work with him in support of his national plans and priorities outlined in his 100 days agenda. PTI ABS AAR