Bengaluru: As part of ‘Mission Sagar’, Indian Naval Ship Kesari entered Port of Male, Maldives on 12 May 2020. The Government of India is providing assistance to friendly foreign countries and towards this INS Kesari is carrying 580 tons of food provisions for the people of Maldives. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and social distance norms, an online handing over ceremony was held on 12 May 2020. The ceremony was attended by the Foreign Minister, Mr Abdulla Shahid and the Defence Minister, Ms Mariya Ahmed Didi of the Maldives. The Indian side was represented by the High Commissioner of India to Maldives, Mr Sunjay Sudhir. The Foreign Minister, Mr Abdulla Shahid appreciated the assistance provided by India.
The deployment of the ship is in consonance with the Prime Ministers vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region ‘SAGAR’ and its neighbourhood first policy, in both of which Maldives figures prominently. The mission is being progressed in close coordination between the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, and other agencies of the Government of India.
Mission Sagar follows close on the heels of Operation Samudra Setu, which is aimed at repatriation of Indian Citizens from overseas including Maldives. A total of 900 Indian nationals were repatriated by INS Jalashwa and INS Magar on 08 and 10 May 2020 respectively.
India and Maldives are close maritime neighbours with strong and extremely cordial defence and diplomatic relations.