New Delhi: Cricket is the latest emphasis in India-Maldives ties, with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih requesting India for assistance in developing cricket in his tiny archipelago nation. New Delhi is also considering a move to construct a cricket stadium in the maritime nation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the Maldives on June 8 and 9, a visit during which projects including a coastal radar surveillance system and a training facility for the Maldives security forces will be inaugurated by remote by Modi and the Maldivian President.
India has also “resolved to mutual satisfaction” with the Maldives the issue relating to the stationing of two Advanced Light Helicopters there that had reportedly been gifted by India earlier.
The issue had become a controversy during the tenure of the previous president Abdulla Yameen when bilateral ties had considerably soured. Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters that the Maldives President has expressed interest in the development of cricket in his nation and formation of a Maldives cricket team. The Maldives has also “requested for a coaching programme” for Maldivian cricketers in both India and the Maldives and also for training of “coaches, umpires, scorers and match referees”.
The Indian Government has already given cricket kits to the south-western maritime neighbour.
New Delhi is also considering the construction of a cricket stadium in the Maldives under the Line of Credit extended by India to that nation. A team from the Board of Control for Cricket in India also visited the Maldives last month as part of the Indian initiative.