VP Venkaiah NaiduANI

India and Malta signed three MoUs on Monday, including one on maritime cooperation, as Vice President Venkaiah Naidu held comprehensive discussions with the President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca on ways to bolster bilateral relations.

The two countries signed the three MoUs for collaboration between the foreign services institutes and cooperation in maritime and tourism. Naidu, the first senior Indian leader to visit the Mediterranean nation in the last 28 years, after holding talks with the President of Malta said India is very keen to strengthen bilateral ties with one of its "most trusted partners" within the EU.

"India and Malta are growing at a steady pace. If we can work together, we can certainly grow faster. Both our economies are complimentary and technology based. We need to bolster our relationship with far more substantive cooperation on the economic, scientific and technological, human resource development fronts," he said.

Naidu, who arrived on Sunday, said Malta can take the advantage of India's highly skilled professionals in the field of IT, financial services, health, pharmaceuticals, transport, freight and tourism.

Venkaiah NaiduANI

He said India is one of the main sources of affordable generic drugs in the world and Malta can consider collaboration in this sector. The two countries can also cooperate in the use of the ancient sciences of yoga and ayurveda to promote wellness.

Malta may like to take advantage of India's advancement in affordable, quality healthcare facilities. The vice president, who is also the chairman of Rajya Sabha, and Coleiro Preca led delegation-level talks and discussed issues like tourism, manufacturing, education and shipping.

The vice president said the signing of the MoUs marks a good beginning in creating a modern, enabling framework for enhancing relations between the two countries. Underlining that easier facilitation of visa promotes people-to-people contact and business, he said the governments should work towards facilitating easy mobility of professionals on both sides.

"I strongly believe this will certainly go a long way in further strengthening the ties and accelerate progress and growth in both our countries," he said. The two countries resolved to fight the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and agreed to strengthen cooperation in fight against terrorism at various international forums.

"Terrorism is one of the foremost threats to international peace and security. It is a global challenge that requires a global response. We invite the entire world community to come together, speak with one voice and fight this menace of terror together. It's an enemy of mankind."

"We are happy that both our countries have been lending support for each other's candidates at various multilateral forums," he said. He said that in order to work more closely with the government of Malta towards further strengthening the relationship, India last year reopened its resident Mission in Malta.

Naidu thanked Malta for its assistance in the evacuation of Indians from Libya in 2011 and 2014. The vice president will also meet the speaker of the House of Representative of Malta, acting prime minister and minister for economy as well as the leader of opposition of Malta. He will also have an interaction with the Indian diaspora and attend a business event where 180-200 companies are likely to participate.