Krishna arrives in Maldives on a two-day visit

Male: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna arrived here on Thursday on a two-day visit to Maldives with an aim to further enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse fields including in trade sector.

Krishna will hold talks with his Maldivian counterpart Ahmed Naseem on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of common interest.

Besides, he will call on President Mohamed Nasheed.

The External Affairs Minister will also offer USD 5 million as cash assistance to Maldives for organising the the SAARC Summit to be held here in November.

He will inaugurate an India Cultural Centre in Male besides visiting the Indira Gandhi memorial hospital. The 200-beded hospital in Male was established in 1995 with India contributing Rs 42.5 crore.

It now serves as the most advanced tertiary care hospital in the country and is easily the most visible symbol of India`s assistance to the Maldives.

Though at present, the Government of Maldives is responsible for running the hospital, while India continues to offer substantial assistance to the institution.

The volume of bilateral trade between the two countries in 2009-10 was close to Rs 400 crore.

Maldives has been consistently supporting India in multilateral fora, such as the UN, the Commonwealth, the NAM and the SAARC.

India was among the first to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965 and to establish diplomatic relations with the country.