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India, Maldives hold talks to enhance trade cooperation

Mohamed Saeed, Maldives’ Minister of Economic Development and Trade, met with Munu Mahawar, Indian High Commissioner to the archipelago nation on Tuesday.
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 15:30 IST
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 15:30 IST

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Male: India on Wednesday said it looked forward to strengthening bilateral economic cooperation with the Maldives as its envoy held discussions with a senior minister of the archipelagic nation.

Mohamed Saeed, Maldives’ Minister of Economic Development and Trade, met with Munu Mahawar, Indian High Commissioner to the archipelago nation on Tuesday.

The meeting comes weeks after India allowed the export of certain quantities of essential commodities for the year 2024-25 at the request of the Maldivian government and ahead of the May 10 deadline imposed by President Mohamed Muizzu for the complete repatriation of 88 Indian military personnel from his country.

"Minister @em_saeed met with Indian High Commissioner to Maldives, H. E. Munu Mahawar, and discussed potential areas for trade & economic cooperation. @HCIMaldives", posted Maldives’ Ministry of Economic Development and Trade from its official X handle along with photos of the meeting.

Soon after, the Indian High Commission responded: "We look forward to continued engagements with @MoEDmv for further enhancing India-Maldives economic cooperation".

Earlier on April 5, displaying a strong commitment to supporting the human-centric development in the archipelagic nation, India said the request to allow export of certain quantities of essential commodities for the year 2024-25 was being done "under a unique bilateral mechanism" under which the quotas for each of these items have been revised upwards.

There was also an increase of 5 per cent in the quotas for eggs, potatoes, onions, sugar, rice, wheat flour and dal (pulses) and the approved quantities were the highest since this arrangement came into effect in 1981.

The 1981 India and Maldives trade agreement provides for the export of essential commodities. According to the records from the Indian High Commission, growing from modest beginnings, India-Maldives bilateral trade crossed the $300 million mark for the first time in 2021, which further crossed the $500 million mark in 2022.

"India emerged as Maldives’ 2nd largest trade partner in 2022 and the largest in 2023. Indian imports from the Maldives primarily comprise scrap metals while Indian exports to the Maldives include a variety of engineering and industrial products like drugs and pharmaceuticals, radar apparatus, rock boulders, aggregates, cement and agricultural produce such as rice, spices, fruits, vegetables and poultry produce etc", it said.

The April 5 announcement also said that the quota for river sand and stone aggregates, crucial items for the booming construction industry in the Maldives, has been increased by 25 per cent to 10,00,000 MT each.

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Published 01 May 2024, 15:30 IST

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