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India, Maldives signed six agreements to deepen bilateral cooperation

India and Maldives signed six agreements in different sectors including avoidance of double taxation, conservation and restoration of ancient mosque, tourism and defence. The agreements were signed after comprehensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The two sides inked a pact for avoidance of double taxation of income derived from International Air Transport. Both sides signed an agreement for the exchange of information with respect to taxes. The agreement envisages mutual assistance for exchange of information that is relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws concerning taxes covered by the Agreement. It also includes exchange of information relevant to the determination, assessment and collection of such taxes, the recovery and enforcement of tax claims, or the investigation and prosecution of tax matters.

India and Maldives signed a bilateral agreement related to Orbit Frequency Coordination of “South Asia Satellite” proposed at 48oE. The agreement shall be used for the purpose of performing intersystem orbit-frequency coordination for the operation of ‘South Asia Satellite’; and fulfilling ITU level regulatory requirements and obtaining international level protection/recognition for the ‘South Asia Satellite’.

Both sides entered into an MoU for cooperation in the area of conservation and restoration of ancient mosques and joint research and exploratory surveys in Maldives. The MoU proposes to undertake conservation and restoration of ancient mosques and other historical monuments in Maldives. Detailed proposals for such projects will be developed by Archaeological Survey of India and Department of Heritage, Maldives.

India and Maldives also signed anMoU on cooperation in the field of tourism. The MoU envisages cooperation in areas of tourism including expansion of bilateral cooperation; exchange of information and data related to tourism; encouraging cooperation between tourism stakeholders including hotels and tour operators; establishing exchange programmes for cooperation in Human Resource Development; investment in the tourism and hospitality sectors; exchanging visits of tour operators/media/opinion makers for promotion of two way tourism; exchange of experience in the areas of promotion, marketing, destination development and management; participation in travel fairs/exhibitions in each other’s country; and promoting safe, honourable and sustainable tourism.

The two nations signed an action plan for defence cooperation. Action plan is in the context of defence cooperation being an important component of the India-Maldives bilateral relationship and the shared strategic and security interests of the two countries in the Indian Ocean region. The action plan envisages an institutional mechanism at the level of the Defence Secretaries to further bilateral defence cooperation.

BACKGROUND

In 2008, Maldives adopted a new Constitution providing for multi-party democracy and elected a new President. Immediately after President Nasheed came to office in November 2008, India extended a $ 100-million line-of-credit, as sought by the Maldivian Government. In 2009, India fully subscribed the $ 100-m treasury bonds floated by Maldives.

After structured talks between in 2011 President Nasheed and Prime Minister Singh, signed six agreements. Topping the list was the Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Development. The agreement committed India to aiding and assisting Maldives in a series of development projects over the coming years.

India is already committed to setting up the Maldivian National University in Male, for which buildings are already coming up. Another agreement provides for New Delhi renovating the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in the capital, a gift from India. Prime Minister Singh said that India would also undertake a feasibility study on constructing a port in northern Kulhudhuffushi. India also contributed substantially to the development of Addu City and Atoll into the ‘convention capital’ of Maldives to help integrate the southern part into the nation at a faster pace.

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