India, Maldives to intensify anti-piracy cooperation

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - Amid reports of Somali pirates heading into Asian waters, India and the Maldives Thursday discussed ways to intensify anti-piracy cooperation and decided to scale up bilateral trade and investment.

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, who began a three-day visit to India Wednesday, met External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and discussed a host of issues, including steps to expand maritime security cooperation between the two countries.

The two also discussed counter-terrorism, steps to intensify economic cooperation and India’s developmental assistance to the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.

Climate change also figured prominently in the discussions, an issue of existential importance for the Maldives, one of the world’s lowest lying islands that faces the prospect of extinction in case of a perceptible surge in sea levels triggered by global warming.

In 2007, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that a rise in sea levels of 18 to 59 centimetres by 2100 would be enough to make the country practically uninhabitable.

Nasheed will hold discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and meet Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh before he heads to Colombo Friday evening.

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