Maldives can always count on India as a well-meaning friend, says Antony

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Male' (Maldives), Aug 22 (ANI): Defence Minister A K Antony has said India and Maldives are a 'shining model of how two countries of differing sizes can cooperate with each other as equals'.

Speaking at the concluding session of the India-Maldives Friendship Week here last night, he said: "India would like to share views on issues like climate change, economic development as well as problem areas such as drug trafficking, extremism and the threat of terrorism that is afflicting the region as well as the larger world."

"We would be happy to work with Maldives in these areas to evolve collaborative and cooperative approaches," he added.

Antony said: "Both countries have been extremely conscious of each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity and, at the same time, realize that their destinies are intertwined. Both countries have always emphasized the mutuality of interest and support each other in numerous ways- at the bilateral, regional and International level."

"India is proud of this partnership and engagement and deeply value the friendship of the people of Maldives. In this quest, the people of Maldives can always count on India as a sincere and well-meaning friend," he added.

Referring to the democratic transformation that has taken place in Maldives in recent years, he said India would be happy to assist Maldives in any way that is possible in strengthening democracy and democratic institutions that are being built in Maldives.

The event was attended by the top leadership of Maldives including President Maohammed Nasheed.

Meanwhile, Nasheed has agreed to a request from Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to be the chief guest at the Technology Development and Transfer Meeting on Climate Change to be held in New Delhi on October 22.

The request of the Prime Minister was conveyed by Antony to Nasheed in Male' on Thursday. (ANI)

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