ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday reached out to President of Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire for peace and cooperation in South Asia.

According to an official statement issued by the PM Office Media Wing, the Prime Minister during a telephonic conversation with the President of Maldives shared Pakistan’s perspective on peace and security situation in South Asia. Prime Minister Khan also underlined that the region needs peace and cooperation so that South Asian nations could realize their true economic potential.

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to work with Maldives to strengthen beneficial cooperation in the region and reiterated his invitation to President of Maldives to visit Pakistan.

The two leaders exchanged views in detail on the challenges posed by Covid-19.  PM Imran commended the efforts made by Maldives to contain the spread of the pandemic and efforts to revive the economy, including the tourism sector. Imran Khan said that the ‘smart lockdown’ strategy had worked successfully and that major sectors of the economy were being gradually opened up.

He also apprised the president about his “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” for developing countries to mitigate the severe socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. The Prime Minister underscored that developing countries were particularly vulnerable due to limited fiscal space and health sector infrastructure constraints and, therefore, required special measures.

Meanwhile, President Solih soon after the conversation took to Twitter to share details of “very engaging” discussion. 

“Had a very engaging phone conversation with Pakistan’s PM [Imran Khan] this afternoon in which we updated each other on Covid-19 measures in our respective countries and also, how we could further enhance the already warm and fraternal relations between Maldives and Pakistan,” he wrote on his official handle. Political and diplomatic observers are attaching great significance to the development on the face of India’s belligerence and Hindutva centric expansionist policy of Prime Minister Naredra Modi by creating tensions with some of its neighbouring countries.