India grants USD 500 million assistance for connectivity project in Maldives

Published: August 13, 2020

India has announced that it will fund the implementation of the major connectivity project in the Maldives with $400 million line of credit and $100 million grant. This came after the talks between the External Affairs Minister of India and his Maldivian counterpart, Abdulla Shahid.

Details of the Project

India will fund the 6.7 km Greater Male Connectivity Project and it will be the largest civilian infra project in the country. This project, once completed, will connect the three neighbouring islands with Male – Gulhifahu, Villingili, Thilafushi. This project will include the construction of a bridge and causeway link spanning 6.7 km. There will also be an air travel bubble with the country to promote and sustain dynamic people-to-people ties between India and Maldives.

Background

The President of Maldives had sought the assistance from India for this mega project during his meeting with the External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, in September 2019. This was also an election promise of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party in the Maldives.

Significance of the Project

Once completed, this project will act as the landmark and will streamline connectivity between the four connecting islands and it will also generate more employment and promote holistic urban development in the Male region of the country. The trade and economic partnership between the two countries will also increase after this. The project will also reduce the logistics cost and times for traders.

India-Maldives Bilateral Relations

India was one of the first countries to recognize Maldives’ independence and also these countries officially and amicably decided the maritime boundaries in 1976. Both nations are founding members of the SAARC and the South Asian Economic Union and also the signatories to the SAFTA.

Indian Army launched Operation Cactus in order to defeat the coup against the Maldives government in 1988. This further strengthened the relations between the countries.

During the time when the only water treatment plant of Maldives was shut, India sent heavy lift transporters like C-17 Globemaster III, II-76, carrying bottled water.

As of now, India and Maldives have strong strategic, military, economic and cultural relations.

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