Indian defense minister pledges stronger support to MNDF

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has promised greater support to the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) in the years to come.

Singh, who is on an official visit to Maldives, made the promise during a ceremony held on Tuesday morning to commission the new offshore patrol vessel, the MNDF Coast Guard Ship, Huravee, gifted by the Indian government.

Speaking during the ceremony, Singh said that India has significantly enhanced its defense capabilities and emerged as a leading defense exporter in recent years, which has enabled the country to further support the capacity building of its partner countries.

Singh said that India offers an enhanced defense partnership to the friendly foreign countries that is accommodative of their national priorities and capacities.

“We wish to create a symbiotic relationship, where we can learn from each other, grow together, and create a win-win situation for one and all,” he said. “We also want to assure you that India’s commitment to support MNDF and Maldives will only get better and stronger with time.”

Singh noted the Indian Ocean is a shared space.

“The primary responsibility for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean rests in those who live in the region. History has taught us that peace and security of a region are best secured with cooperation and collaboration of the regional players,” he said.

Singh said the defense partnership between Maldives and India will help enhance peace and security in the Indian Ocean.

He described the CGS Huravee as a symbol of the two countries’ shared commitment to peace and security in the region.

Singh said the ship is big and potent, capable of coastal and offshore turbulent duties at high speeds.

India also handed over an additional landing craft assault ship to MNDF.

Singh reiterated India’s commitment to its Neighborhood First Policy.

“Prime Minister Modi also underscored this approach while speaking in Maldives in June 2019, that India’s Neighborhood First policy is our priority, and that in the neighborhood, Maldives is priority,” he said.