Male: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih held wide-ranging talks on Saturday as the two countries signed six agreements to strengthen bilateral cooperation in key areas like defence and maritime security.
Earlier, while addressing the Maldivian Parliament, the Majlis, in a veiled attack on Pakistan, Modi said that state sponsorship of terrorism is the biggest threat the humanity is facing today as he urged the world leaders to unite for combating the menace.
Modi also said that relations between India and Maldives are older than history.
"Today I want to emphasise that every Indian was with you for the strengthening of democracy in the Maldives," he said.
Terrorism is not just a threat for a country but to the entire civilization, he said.
"It is very unfortunate that people are still making the mistake of distinguishing between good terrorists and bad terrorists. "State sponsorship of terrorism is the biggest threat the world is facing today," Modi said, in an apparent reference to Pakistan.
India in the past has blamed Pakistan for carrying out terrorist attacks in the country and asked it to stop supporting terror outfits operating from its soil.
"The water is now rising above the head," Modi said as he urged the world leaders to unite for combating the menace.
"Combating terrorism and radicalisation is the most accurate test of the leadership in the world," he said. Modi arrived in the Maldives on Saturday on his
first foreign visit after re-election as Prime Minister to strengthen the bilateral ties, reflecting the importance India attaches to its 'Neighbourhood First' policy.
During his first overseas visit after being re-elected, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a cricket bat signed by the Indian team to "ardent cricket fan" and Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Saturday.
"Connected by cricket! My friend, President @ibusolih is an ardent cricket fan, so I presented him a cricket bat that has been signed by #TeamIndia playing at the #CWC19," PM Modi tweeted.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 8, 2019
This comes after Modi held delegation-level talks with Solih after touching down in the island-nation on Saturday afternoon. He was accorded a grand ceremonial welcome upon his arrival in the Maldives, which included a performance by a dance troupe donning the traditional Maldivian attire.
"Mutually beneficial partnership. Warm discussions marked the meeting between PM @narendramodi & President of Maldives @ibusolih. Focus on further deepening our special relationship by expanding cooperation across sectors," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
The two leaders also remote inaugurated projects after their bilateral talks on June 8.
Modi is also scheduled to speak at the People's Majlis or the Maldives Parliament later in the day, apart from a string of other engagements.
He is currently on a two-day visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka, which is the first bilateral engagement the leader's undertaking after being sworn-in as the Prime Minister for a second term on May 30.
The Maldives had earlier acknowledged India's support in the sports field.
Speaking to ANI, Maldives' Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment of Maldives, Ahmed Mahloof said, "We received a lot of support from the Indian govt in area of youth and sports. We had a successful meeting with BCCI and we expect they will help us develop cricket here. India's support would mean a lot to us."
"Like Afghanistan Cricket Board was adopted by BCCI, we have the expectation that BCCI will help us in the area of cricket. Soon we will work out a strategic plan for sports with technical support from India," he added....