As UNGA President-elect, Abdulla Shahid visits India in his first foreign visit

The President-elect of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid is in India for his first foreign visit in that capacity. He won the elections of UNGA President in June. He was received by MEA’s Joint Secretary at the Indian Ocean Region Division (JS IOR) Amit Narang.

Shahid, who is the foreign minister of Maldives will hold talks with External Affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar and call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla will also host the minister.

A release by the Ministry of External Affairs said, “The visit of PGA-Elect will provide an opportunity to exchange views with him on several global challenges that the United Nations is currently seized with. It will also give us an opportunity to reiterate India’s abiding commitment to multilateralism and to the UN’s leadership in confronting these challenges.”

During the UNGA elections, he got a whopping 143 votes in the 193 strong body. 97 votes are the threshold for winning the elections. The tenure of the post is one year and is a prestigious one due to authority over the working of the General Assembly.

India had strongly backed the candidature of Abdulla, with the announcement first being made during foreign secretary Harsh Shringla’s Maldives visit in November. Again during the visit of EAM Jaishankar’s visit to the Maldives in February of 2021, India reiterated its continued backing for his candidature.

Important to note that, India’s Deputy Ambassador to United Nations Nagaraj Naidu will be the Chef du Cabinet of Abdulla as the President of UNGA. This is for the first time that an Indian diplomat will be at that post and his tenure will be for a period of one year. The post is like the chief of staff or like in the Indian system PM’s Principal Secretary.

New Delhi and Male share a strong relationship and amid the Covid crisis, India had sent relief such as medicines and other essentials to the country. The country, along with Bhutan was the first two countries to get India-made vaccines in January of this year.

The Indian release highlighted that “Maldives occupies a central place as part of India’s Neighbourhood First policy and the SAGAR vision of the Prime Minister” and the “two ministers are also expected to review the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation between the two sides”. Both Jaishankar and Shahid will hold talks on Friday, after which MoU will be signed. He will also deliver a speech on COVID and reformed Multilateralism at the Indian Council of World Affairs, Sapru House, New Delhi.

Minister Shahid is accompanied by Member of Parliament Hussain Shaheem, and Joint Secretary Mariyam Midhfa Naeem from the Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is in India for 4 days and will leave on Saturday.



(With inputs from DNA India)

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