Male seeks India’s help in counter-terror; NCTC chief to visit

New Delhi, Aug 18 (PTI) Expressing its "vulnerability",Maldives has sought India’s assistance in key area of counter-terrorism and the chief of its National Counter TerrorismCentre (NCTC) will travel to India from August 29 to discussthe specific requirements in this regard. Maldivian Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim also describedIndia as a "solid friend" and assured that Maldives will notundertake any activity that will jeopardise security of theIndian Ocean. The request by Maldives for intelligence sharing, capacitybuilding and skill development assumes significance in view ofincreasing threat from Islamic State and reports ofradicalisation of Maldivian youth with the government theremaintaining that about 50 locals have joined ISIS. "The issue was discussed in detail during the visit ofPrime Minister’s Special Envoy on Counter-Terrorism AsifAbrahim to Maldives last month and will be taken forwardduring the visit of NCTC chief’s visit here," MaldivianForeign Minister Mohamed Asim told PTI in an interview. "Because of our small size, we are very venerable and wehave sought India’s help in strengthening our mechanisms totackle threats of terrorism," Asim said. The two countries have already inked the Defence ActionPlan during Abdulla Yameen’s visit here in April. Cooperationin counter terrorism is one of key component of the pact. Apart from cooperation in counter-terrorism, the minister,during his wide-ranging interview, talked about Maldives’efforts to get foreign investments and his country’srelationship with China. Asked about apprehensions in India over increasing Chinesepresence in various projects in Maldives includinginfrastructure sector, he said they were purely economicengagements and "Maldives will not undertake any activitywhich will jeopardise security of the Indian Ocean." MORE PTIPYKZMN

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