“We Are Natural Friends With India,” Says Maldives Defence Forces Chief
NEW DELHI, Jul 5 (PTI): India has been providing swift help to its neighbours at times of natural calamities and security threats, and it is all set to play the key role of a “security guarantor” for peace and stability within the greater Indian Ocean region, Maldivian Defence Forces Chief Abdulla Shamaal said on Friday.
Speaking on ‘National Security Vulnerabilities: Issues for Small States’ at an event in Delhi, Mr Shamaal said India and the Maldives have historical and cultural linkages that have made bilateral ties stronger.
“India has been (providing) a customary security guaranteeing architecture for decades if not centuries. This is quite evident by the prompt and swift response of Indian Army services on various occasions,” he said.
He said India has always been at the forefront of providing help whether it was at the time of natural calamities like tsunami or at the time of security threats.
Calling the Indo-Pacific region an economically and socially dynamic area, Mr Shamaal said India is set to play the key role of a “security guarantor” for peace and stability within the greater Indian Ocean region.
Listing out vulnerabilities faced by small nations like the Maldives, Mr Shamaal said global warming and violent extremism are the biggest threats facing the island nation. He said India and the Maldives share common historic interests.
“More importantly our geographies bind us together. Having the greater Indian Ocean region… and the Maldives located right in the middle of the Indian Ocean region makes us natural friends and very close neighbours,” he said.
Mr Shamaal on Thursday met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa, and discussed ways to step up military and security cooperation through more structured and planned programmes.
“There are security concerns with the transformation in the geo-strategic security environment. We talked about their spill over effect and we are also concerned by issues of cross-border terrorism,” he said on the sidelines of the event organised by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).