Japan and the Maldives have signed an agreement featuring 500 million yen ($4.6 million) in Japanese aid to the Indian Ocean state to bolster its antiterrorism and public safety capabilities.
Japanese Ambassador Keiko Yanai and Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid signed the agreement recently in Male for the provision of police vehicles, liquid inspection devices and X-ray equipment, among other items, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
"This grant will be utilized towards countering terrorism," the Maldives Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The aid comes as concerns have grown about the rising influence of Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in South Asia in the wake of bombing incidents in Sri Lanka in April that killed more than 250 people.
Boosting counterterrorism is particularly important for the Maldives, whose main industry is tourism.
In an Oct. 21 meeting in Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih affirmed the importance of freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific, in a veiled swipe at China's rising assertiveness in the region.