Maldives and Japan have signed the Exchange of Notes worth USD 7.6 million.
The grant aid, under the Japanese government’s Economic and Social Development Programme, is to be extended to the Maldives Coast Guard and the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center.
Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid signed the Exchange of Notes on behalf of the Maldivian government at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday, while Ambassador of Japan to the Maldives, Keiko Yanai, signed on behalf of the Government of Japan.
Senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maldives National Defence Force, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Embassy of Japan attended the signing ceremony.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Shahid highlighted the close relations the Maldives enjoys with Japan, as well as the need for coordinated action in collaborating more closely on combating piracy, countering violent extremism and narco-trafficking, and to ensure a free and open Indian Ocean that would bring about peace and prosperity to the region.
He also thanked the ambassador for her commitment to further enhance the close relations between the two nations, and expressed gratitude to the Japanese government for “yet another important gesture of goodwill and generosity to the Maldives”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the grant aid will be utilized to further strengthen the capabilities of the Maldives Coast Guard, the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center, Sub-Regional Centers and Vessels. This includes the provision of communications equipment, professional search and rescue dive equipment to be used by the Maldives Coast Guard during search and rescue operations.
While Japan had, in October 2019 donated 21 paramedic ambulances to the Maldives health sector in value of USD 1.4 million to be distributed to 21 islands in 15 atolls, the ministry said that Sunday’s signing of the Exchange of Notes “symbolises the close ties and coordination between the two countries on rescue services and crisis management”.
Maldives and Japan signed an Exchange of Notes facilitating a Covid-19 Response Emergency Loan of USD 47.5 million to the island nation, in Late September. Further, an agreement to provide scholarships for 24 Maldivian students was signed in August as well as an Exchange of Notes for a grant aid worth USD 5.6 million in June, to equip and improve the health services at atolls and regional hospitals across the country.