Maldives thanks India for goods, EAM says ‘neighbourhood first’ | India News

Maldives thanks India for goods, EAM says ‘neighbourhood first’ | India News

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NEW DELHI: In a rare show of bonhomie, after India allowed export of limited quantities of essential items to the Maldives for the 2024-25 financial year, Male thanked India, saying the gesture signified the longstanding friendship between the two countries. Foreign minister S Jaishankar responded by saying India stands firmly committed to its ‘Neighbourhood First‘ policy.
“I sincerely thank EAM @DrSJaishankar and the govt of India for the renewal of the quota to enable Maldives to import essential commodities from India during the years 2024 & 2025. This is truly a gesture which signifies the longstanding friendship, and the strong commitment to further expand bilateral trade and commerce between our two countries (sic),” said Maldives foreign minister Moosa Zameer in a post on X. “You are welcome, FM @MoosaZameer. India stands firmly committed to its Neighbourhood First and SAGAR policies,” responded his counterpart.
Centre Friday allowed limited export of eggs, potatoes, onions, rice, wheat flour, sugar, pulses, stone aggregate and river sand to Maldives for the current financial year under the bilateral trade agreement, SAGAR, between the two countries. SAGAR or ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’ is India’s vision for maritime cooperation with other countries in the Indian Ocean Region.
As per a commerce ministry notification, India will export around 42.7 crore eggs, 25,513 tonnes potatoes, 35,749 tonnes onion, 1.24 lakh tonnes rice, nearly 1.1 lakh tonnes wheat flour and 64,494 tonnes of sugar. India will also export 224.5 tonnes of pulses and 10 lakh tonnes of stone aggregate and river sand each to Maldives during the current financial year.
“Export of the listed items to the Republic of Maldives shall be exempted from any existing or future restriction/prohibition during 2024-25,” the commerce ministry said.
It added that for export of river sand and stone aggregate, the Chemicals and Allied Products Export Promotion Council (CAPEXIL) shall ensure that suppliers and extractors have obtained appropriate clearances and mining of the sand is not undertaken in the coastal regulation zone area, which is prohibited under the Coastal Regulation Zone notification.
The decision on essential item quota was announced by the Indian high commission which said that this was being done “under a unique bilateral mechanism” under which the quotas for each of these items have been revised upwards. The 1981 India and Maldives trade agreement provides for export of essential commodities.The development came amid souring ties over efforts by Maldives to limit its defence and security cooperation with India. As asked by Male, the Indian govt is withdrawing from the archipelago its defence personnel who were involved in operating Indian naval choppers meant for medical evacuation & other HADR activities.

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