Abdulla Shahid, Foreign Minister of Maldives, paid a four-day visit (8th – 11th February 2021) at the invitation of Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen. The Maldives Foreign Minister was joined by the Foreign Secretary of Maldives H. E. Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed and Joint Secretary Ms. Fathimath Ghina of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Maldives. The Foreign Minister of Maldives visited the “Bangabandhu Memorial Museum” and paid graciousness call to the “Hon’ble President of Bangladesh and the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh” on 10 February 2021.

A bilateral meeting was held between the two Foreign Ministers on 09 February 2021 in a warm and amicable environment. It reflected enhanced “dynamism and historically close relationship” between the two nations. They evaluated the whole extent of bilateral relations and consented to expand collaboration to various novel regions, with greater emphasis on “exploring commerce and trade.” Following the bilateral meeting, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister facilitated a lunch get-together out of respect for the Maldives visit’s Foreign Minister.

Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) among Bangladesh and Maldives were signed during the visit: “MoU on the framework for recruiting human resources from Bangladesh and regularization of undocumented expatriate workers in the archipelago.” “MoU on cooperation between the Bangladesh Foreign Service Academy and the Foreign Service Institute of Maldives.” Both the parties also consented to set up the Joint Commission for Comprehensive Cooperation drove by the two Foreign Ministers and the yearly Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) by marking significant MoUs during President Solih’s forthcoming visit to Bangladesh in March 2021.

Applauding the regularization program introduced by the Ministry of Economic Development of Maldives in 2019 to sanction undocumented workers, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. Momen urged the Government of Maldives to regularize the remaining undocumented Bangladeshi expatriates at a rapid pace.

Foreign Minister Shahid upheld improved reciprocal collaboration in the medical services industry and urged for more openings for Maldivian students in the higher study of medication and dentistry in Bangladesh. He likewise requested to consider Bangladeshi doctors’ and nurses’ employment in the Maldives to alleviate its scarcity of medical professionals and look for assistance in importing pharmaceutical drugs from Bangladesh. Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. Momen assured him of support in this regard.

The two Ministers likewise communicated their obligation to tend to government assistance in terms of the welfare of their respective communities dwelling in the two nations, including the prompt provision of consular services.

The two Foreign Ministers noted that there is further potential for expanded bilateral trade and observed the shortfall of a “formal trade agreement” among Bangladesh and Mal-jumps. Dr. Momen communicated Bangladesh’s interest to go into a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with the Maldives within the domain of WTO provisions to render the trade possibilities.

They underlined the need to have strong connectivity among Bangladesh and Maldives as a way to advance the “exchange of goods and services, culture, and people.” They additionally concurred on the need to heighten private sector participation.

Dr. Momen proposed to consistently hold Commerce Secretary Level Meeting (CSLM) among Bangladesh and Maldives every year to extensively address trade issues, including delegates from various line ministers. The Maldives Minister agreed upon the proposition.

The two Ministers concurred that a direct shipping line, set up through a Shipping Agreement, would be beneficial for further trade between Bangladesh and Maldives. They also concurred that the proposed MoU on collaboration in fisheries would be signed during President Solih’s visit to Bangladesh in March 2021.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. Momen proposed improving cultural collaboration, with the goal that the two nations could profit from closer individuals to individual contacts.

He communicated Bangladesh’s eagerness to offer training courses to Maldives’ UN Peacekeepers at Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operations Training (BIPSOT). The two parties emphasized the need to assist each other in various negotiating platforms on environmental change, including in the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF). The two Foreign Ministers revived the catalyst on the execution of the Paris Agreement.

Maldives expressed gratitude toward the Government of Bangladesh for the warm cordiality extended to him and his delegation. He further asserted hope that the current relations between the two nations would arrive at new statures with the visit of the Maldivian president to Bangladesh on the event of Bangladesh’s Golden Jubilee of Independence and Mujib Year festivities.