New Delhi: As part of 'Mission Sagar', INS Kesari entered Port of Male, the Maldives on Tuesday. The Government of India is providing assistance to friendly foreign countries & towards this INS Kesari is carrying 580 tons of food provisions for the people of Maldives. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and social distance norms, an online handing over ceremony was held on 12 May 2020. The ceremony was attended by the Foreign Minister, Abdulla Shahid and the Defence Minister, Mariya Ahmed Didi of the Maldives. The Indian side was represented by Sanjay Sudhir, the High Commissioner of India to the Maldives. The Foreign Minister, Mr Abdulla Shahid appreciated the assistance provided by India.
The deployment of the ship is in consonance with the Prime Ministers vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region 'SAGAR' and its neighbourhood first policy, in both of which the Maldives figures prominently. The mission is being progressed in close coordination between the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, and other agencies of the Government of India.
Abdulla Shahid, the foreign minister of Maldives said "India's gift of 580t of essential food items couldn't have been more opportune. In the face of #COVID19 pandemic ravaging the world, the Holy Month of Ramazan has befallen us in such extraordinary circumstances this year. Today's donation is India's "Ramazan Gift" to the Maldives".
Mission Sagar follows close on the heels of Operation Samudra Setu, which is aimed at repatriation of Indian Citizens from overseas including the Maldives. A total of 900 Indian nationals were repatriated by INS Jalashwa and INS Magar on 08 and 10 May 2020 respectively.
India and Maldives are close maritime neighbours with strong and extremely cordial defence and diplomatic relations.