Prime Minister of India, all distinguished members present here this morning,

Today both India and the Maldives have signed a number of agreements to include a framework agreement for cooperation. This is a very wide agreement that has a number of advantages to both countries. That agreement and also the agreement of the standby credit facility which amounts to another 100 M Dollars, and the agreement to renovate the Indhira Gandhi memorial hospital goes a long way in Indian assistance towards Maldives’ development and towards our development programmes. We thank the Indian government for this reason and for many other contributions towards our economic, social and political development.

It is also agreed to enhance connectivity by air and sea, in particular through shipping links and ferry services. In this context both the Indian Prime Minister and myself directed our concerned officials to work towards starting a regular passenger cargo ferry between Cochin and the Maldives and other destinations between the Maldives and India. In this context of other destinations, we very much hope that these destinations would finally include the islands of Minicoy which is just the north of the Maldives. That would hopefully give easy access and connectivity to Malik, to Minicoy islands and to the Northern Atolls of the Maldives.

The Prime Minister announced that India would undertake a feasibility study in the development of the regional port in Kulhudhuffushi, at the earliest possible time. That would mean that we can start the development work of the northern most port, the Kulhudhuffushi port. And therefore I am convinced that the people of the Maldives are going to benefit immensely from the agreements.

I also would like to thank the Prime Minister for being so helpful during the course of the 17th SAARC Summit, run-up to the SAARC Summit, and during the summit for the Indian government’s assistance for tomorrow and other support towards the government in having the summit and concluding it with such success.

I thank the Indian government and Indian people for the very good relations that we are able to foster between both our countries. From here the Prime Minster will be leaving to the parliament. As we all know this is the first multi-party parliament in the Maldives and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be the first Head of Government or Head of State to address our parliament. With that of cause is, it gives us great pleasure and we thank the Indian government for that.

Thank you Prime Minister.