External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar discussed bilateral cooperation with his Maldivian counterpart, Abdulla Shahid. The call was made by the External minister to greet foreign minister of Maldives on new year, and both talked on mutual benefits and bilateral issues, informed the office of the External Minister.

Later Jaishankar tweeted, "Recognized the great progress in bilateral cooperation in my talk with FM @abdulla_shahid. Its mutual benefits are very visible. Conveyed my New Year's greetings to the people and Government of Maldives".

This conversation between the two is important as Abdulla Shahid was recently elected the President of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where India holds few key positions. A member of Parliament from 1995 to 2018, Abdulla also has served as the Speaker of Maldives's Parliament.

Maldives' proximity to the west coast of India, it is barely 70 nautical miles away from Minicoy and 300 nautical miles away from India's west coast, and its situation at the hub of commercial sea lanes running through Indian Ocean, and its potential to allow a third nation's naval presence in the area imbues it with significant strategic importance to India.

India has a pre-eminent position in the Maldives, with relations extending to virtually most areas. Except for a brief period during former President Waheed's administration and to some extent during former President Yameen's regime, when there was a change in approach towards India, all Maldivian Presidents have recognized the importance of India's strategic role in Maldives and worked towards strengthening bilateral relationship with India, with India being seen as a net security provider.

'India First' has been a stated policy of the Government of Maldives, states the ministry of external affairs on India- Maldives bilateral relations.

India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links steeped in antiquity and enjoy close, cordial and multi-dimensional relations. India was among the first to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965 and to establish diplomatic relations with the country.

India established its mission at the level of CDA in 1972 and resident High Commissioner in 1980. Maldives opened a full fledged High Commission in New Delhi in November 2004, at that time one of its only four diplomatic missions worldwide.