At the ‘China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation’, Vice President Hussain Mohamed Latheef, expressed the country’s readiness to strengthen ties and collaborate for a resilient and prosperous Indian Ocean Region. This forum, now in its second edition, represents a joint venture between China and Indian Ocean Region countries, aimed at fostering development cooperation.

The Vice President highlighted the Maldives’ journey since graduating from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) category in 2011, noting its efforts to enhance partnerships within the Indian Ocean and beyond. These efforts are geared towards promoting peaceful co-existence and regional prosperity. He emphasised the country’s commitment to dialogue, cooperation, and close collaboration at both regional and global levels to achieve common objectives.

China’s role in the recent development of the Maldives was underscored by Vice President Latheef, who noted the shared commitment to a people-centric approach between the two nations. This approach focuses on social development, peace, and prosperity. The vice president expressed his and the newly inaugurated President Dr Mohamed Muizzu’s commitment to strengthening the long-standing relationship with China, based on mutual respect and shared goals.

Highlighting the unique geographical composition of the Maldives, comprising ninety-nine per cent water and only one per cent land, the vice president shed light the severe impact of natural disasters, climate change, global warming, and coastal erosion on the nation. He noted the country’s reliance on marine resources and the blue economy, including critical industries like tourism and fisheries. Despite these vulnerabilities, he stressed the Maldives’ resilience and commitment to sustainable development, with a focus on marine protection to benefit both communities and the environment.

Vice President Latheef expressed confidence that the forum would serve as a valuable platform for exchanging ideas, strengthening partnerships, and collectively shaping the future of the Indian Ocean Region.