New Delhi: While jointly inaugurating key development projects with the Maldives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday highlighted the close relationship between two friendly nations and said one of the key aspects of close relations between the two countries is people-to-people contact. He also added that the Indian tourist figures in the Maldives have more than doubled as India has moved from 5th to 2nd position now.

While initiating the process to roll out RuPay card in the Maldives, PM Modi said the mechanism will further ease the travel of Indian to the Maldives.

“RuPay Payment mechanism will further ease the travel of Indian to the Maldives. I’m glad that this has been launched through the Bank of Maldives. Today we dedicated LED street lighting to the people of Male. India is very happy to bring to them benefits of these environment-friendly lights,” he added.

Talking about the bilateral relationship between the two countries, PM Modi said that this year is a significant year for the India-Maldives relationship. “It has been a landmark year for democracy and development in the Maldives. It has also been a significant year for India-Maldives relationship,” he added.

Saying that his government has launched a number of policies to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two counties, PM Modi said, “My government’s Neighbourhood First and your (Maldives) government’s India First policies have strengthened our bilateral cooperation in all sectors.”

A number of key developments projects were jointly inaugurated by PM Modi and Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih today. India also gifted a fast interceptor vessel to the island nation to further strengthen deeper maritime security between the two countries.

“Today, a ‘Made in India’ Fast Interceptor Craft was officially handed over to your Coast Guard. This advanced vessel has been constructed by L&T in my home state.  It will help enhance Maldive’s maritime security, and promote your blue economy and tourism,” PM Modi added.

The bilateral relationship between the two countries is on an upswing after Solih became President in November 2018.