Maldives and Bangladesh remain committed to solidify the fraternal bonds of friendship enjoyed between the two nations over the years.
The commitment was reaffirmed by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, during official talks held as part of the latter’s ongoing State Visit to Maldives.
Senior delegates from both nations joined the official discussions held at the President’s Office on Thursday.
The talks saw President Solih and PM Hasina shedding light on the close existing bilateral relationship between Maldives and Bangladesh, which dates back several decades.
Dialogues were held on improving existing relations in numerous sectors where mutual arrangements are shared between the two countries.
The leaders spoke extensively on a wide array of topics on boosting bilateral, regional and international cooperation in mutual areas of interest including the battle against Covid-19, human resource development, higher education, increased air connectivity as well as visa facilitation.
Cooperation in the fields of healthcare, economy and trade, fisheries and agriculture, environment and climate change and counter-terrorism were also discussed between the leaders.
Shedding light on the significance of health sector development, President Solih said that Maldives has embarked on an ambitious programme to improve the healthcare sector which focuses on three main areas including training and specialization of medical and nursing students, recruitment of expatriate doctors and specialists for both the short- and long-term as well as acquiring of medicine and pharmaceutical supplies.
Going on to express his determination to solidify cooperation in higher education for both undergraduate and postgraduate students at medical institutions in Bangladesh through fellowships and scholarships and to increase the number of internship opportunities, the president expressed that the government is keen to explore higher education prospects in other fields, such as engineering and vocational studies.
Touching down on cooperation in the fields of economy and commerce, PM Hasina and President Solih stated that the agreement exchanged today on the Elimination of Double Taxation with Respect to Income Taxes and the Prevention of Tax Evasion and Avoidance would greatly enhance cooperation.
Discussions also revolved around regularization of migrant workers in the Maldives, re-establishing on-arrival visas for Maldivians travelling to Bangladesh and long-term student visa facilitation. With this being said, PM Hasina stated that an agreeable solution will be reached by the Bangladeshi government, after assessments are made on the situation surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Sheikh Hasina was officially welcomed to the Maldives on Thursday; she arrived at the Velana International Airport on Wednesday afternoon and was welcomed by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Khaleel.
President Solih welcomed Sheikh Hasina at the Presidential Jetty in Malé City during Thursday’s official welcoming ceremony, where Maldivian school students performed for the Bangladeshi PM.
She was also honored with a 21-gun salute by the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), with the Maldivian military brass band having played the national anthems of both nations.
PM Hasina was escorted to the President’s Office by a cultural procession following the welcoming courtesies. At the President’s Office the Bangladeshi PM signed the visitor’s book.