The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing and ratification of an Agreement for the exchange of information between India and Maldives with respect to taxes, which will stimulate effective exchange of information between the two countries which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.
This follows close on the heels of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Maldives on October 10-11, 2015, where she co-chaired the 5th Meeting of the India-Maldives Joint Commission, set up under the 1986 Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation and first met in Male in 1990. The Framework Agreement for Cooperation, signed in November 2011, mandated the Joint Commission to broaden its cross sectoral emphasise to include defence and security related issues.
On defence front, ongoing cooperation was reviewed and future requirements were discussed. India-Maldives defence cooperation includes, inter-alia, the construction of a Composite Training Centre for the Maldivian National Defence Forces, joint patrolling, training programmes for MNDF officers in India, medical camps, joint exercises, etc.
The Maldivian side acknowledged the usefulness of the Advanced Light Helicopter given by India in the development of aviation capacities in the Maldives. We welcomed the participation of Maldives in the next Dosti Exercise in Goa later this month. The Ministers were of the view that the bilateral partnership was important also for maintaining security in the Indian Ocean Region.
The Joint Commission proposed establishment of a Joint Business Forum and suggested that an investment oriented forum be part of the calendar for 2016. Both sides acknowledged the positive impact of increasing the B-to-B interface and facilitating a more participant role for the private sectors. The Joint Commission agreed to explore further measures to increase trade in goods and services and to strengthen links in the banking and financial sectors of both countries.