India and Maldives to Improve Bilateral Maritime Cooperation

An official level meeting between India and Maldives to improve Bilateral Maritime cooperation was held in Male from 10 to 12 July, 2011. The Indian Delegation was led by Shri K. Mohandas, Secretary, Shipping and the Maldivian side was led by Mr. Mohamed Latheef, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Communication, Government of Maldives.

A broad range of issues including the starting of a regular ferry service between the two countries, opportunities/assistance in port development, technical and capacity building assistance, facilitation in commercial ports of call, training and man-power development were discussed at the delegation level meeting.

Both the sides provisionally agreed to initiate work on a regular, preferably bi-weekly passenger-cum-cargo ferry service between Cochin (India) and Male (Maldives). The ferry service is to be run by a private operator but facilities on either port of call would be arranged by the concerned ports. There was also an agreement to promote on either side the leisure Cruise service between India and Maldives through appropriate policy incentives and measures. India has agreed to look at the possibility of developing the regional port in Kulhunduffushi in upper north province of Maldives.

Besides, India agreed to address operational difficulties being faced by Maldivian small vessel operators especially with regard to Port state control inspection and to augment infrastructure at both Old Port and New Port and also bunkering facilities at anchorage / berths in Tuticorin in order to promote bilateral trade.

India has also agreed to consider favorably the Maldivian request for technical assistance and guidance in preparing for International Maritime Organization (IMO) member state audit/compliance measures and also for training slots/placements in Maritime Training Institutes in India.

Both the sides have agreed to initiate work on a Comprehensive bilateral Maritime Cooperation Agreement encompassing all aspects of Maritime cooperation between the two countries.

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