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Maldivian Defence Forces Chief on four-day India visit

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Maj Gen Abdulla Shamaal, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) of Maldives National Defence Force, meets Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: Twitter/MoD

NEW DELHI (PTI): Maldivian Defence Forces Chief Abdulla Shamaal on Thursday met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and IAF chief BS Dhanoa, and discussed ways to step up military and security cooperation.

Major General Shamaal's four-day visit, which began Thursday, is aimed at ramping up defence cooperation, reviewing joint exercises and strengthening maritime security.

He is accompanied by a high-level delegation from various branches of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) who will undertake detailed discussions with a joint team of the Indian armed forces.

The visit of the top defence official of the Maldives comes less than a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the archipelago nation in the Arabian Sea.

"Chief of Maldives Natl Def Force Maj Gen Abdulla started his visit by paying tribute at India's War Memorial & later called on RM Shri @rajnathsingh. Scheduled to visit Coimbatore, Wellington & Trivandrum later, Gen brings valuable opportunity for rapport building at mil level," the Defence Ministry tweeted.

Shamaal will also visit Coimbatore, Wellington and Trivandrum.

"#CooperationVisit - Major General Abdulla Shamaal, Chief of Defence Force of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) called on Chairman COSC & the CAS ACM BS Dhanoa at New Delhi today. He is on an official visit to India from 04-07 Jul 19.

"He is accompanied by a high-level delegation from various branches of MNDF who will undertake detailed discussion with a joint team of the Indian armed forces. His visit will aim to enhance defence cooperation, reviewing joint exercises, strengthening maritime security etc.," the Indian Air Force tweeted.

India and Maldives share a robust defence cooperation.

During Modi's visit to the Maldives last month, he and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean Region, and strengthen coordination in enhancing maritime security in the region through coordinated patrolling and aerial surveillance, exchange of information, and capacity building.

Both sides also agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation on issues of common concern including piracy, terrorism, organised crime, drugs and human trafficking. They agreed to set up a Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism, Countering Violent Extremism and De-radicalisation.

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