Man first Indian PM to address Maldives Parliament

Maldives: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was today accorded the "unique" honour of being the first foreign dignitary to address the multi-party `People`s Majlis`, Maldives` Parliament, after it came into being in 2009.

Singh read out his speech outlining the "time-tested" relationship India had with this picturesque island nation as all the 75 MPs of the Majlis listened in rapt attention.

On his first visit to Maldives as the Prime Minister, Singh said it was an "unforgettable journey" to the country for him which he will cherish. "I am overwhelmed by the breathtaking beauty and serenity" of this country, he said.

Majlis Speaker Abdullah Shahid welcomed him saying that his country has lot to learn from India, a leading economic giant and the largest democracy in the world. Singh acknowledged that it was a unique honour for him to address the Majlis. "I am truly honoured by this gesture accorded to me and my country," he said.

The Prime Minister also conveyed belated greetings to the people of Maldives on their Republic Day, which was celebrated on Friday.
Singh`s wife Gursharan Kaur and Maldivian President Mohammed Nasheed`s wife Laila Ali Abdullah were present at the Majlis during the address.