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Maldives stresses pro-India stance while maintaining China ties

Foreign minister says regional cooperation, dialogue crucial to stability

Multilateralism is “the only guarantee for peace, security and development” for small states, says Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid. (Photo by Hiroki Endo)

TOKYO -- The foreign minister of the Maldives said his country has an "outstanding" relationship with India, defending his administration's record as it comes under fire from pro-China political rivals ahead of a presidential election due in September.

"In foreign policy, we have an India-first approach," Abdulla Shahid told Nikkei Asia in an interview during a visit this month to Tokyo. The countries share a "very special bond," he said, noting that "every time we have had an emergency and had to dial the 911 International, India has been the first responder."

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