The President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was on a 4-day visit to India from August 1-4, 2022 on the invitation of Prime Minister (PM) of India, Narendra Modi. This is Maldivian President’s third visit to India since assuming office in November 2018.
- The President along with a high-level delegation arrived at Receptorium Air Force Station in Palam, New Delhi (Delhi).
- He was received by Indian Minister of State (MoS) Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying; and senior officials of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
- Besides official and business engagements in New Delhi, the President also visited Mumbai (Maharashtra) and participated in the business events.
Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of Finance; Fayyaz Ismail, Minister of Economic Development; Aishath Mohamed Didi, Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services, and a business delegation.
Meeting with Indian PM:
The Maldivian President held extensive talks with the Indian PM Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House, New Delhi. The meeting aims to enhance overall bilateral strategic ties.
Both leaders participated in the virtual ‘Pouring of First Concrete’ of the Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP).
Both leaders jointly launched the Greater Male Connectivity Project — the largest infrastructure project in Maldives. A 6.74-km-long bridge, connecting Male to Villingli, Gulhifahlu and Thilahfushi, will be built at a cost of USD 500 million.
It is funded by a USD 400 million Line of Credit (LoC) from the Indian Exim (Export Import) Bank and a USD 100 million grant from the Indian government.
- The project was awarded to the Indian-based company, Afcons Infrastructure Limited.
Exchange of 6 key Agreements:
The President and the PM also presided over the exchange of six key Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between the two nations. These are as follows:
i.MoU on Capacity Building and Training of Members of Local Councils and Women Development Committee and Staff of Local Government Authority, between the Local Government Authority of the Maldives; and the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) and Ministry of Panchayati Raj of India.
To improve the technical competence and develop the skills of local council members, women’s development committees, and other staff in relevant areas of local governance.
ii.MoU for cooperation in the area of cyber security was signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives and the Indian Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Communications; and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
To promote closer co-operation and the exchange of information pertaining to cyber security in accordance with relevant domestic laws, rules, and regulations
iii.MoU on Collaboration in potential fishing zone forecast capacity building, between the Ministry of Economic Development of the Maldives and the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
iv.MoU on cooperation in the field of disaster management, between the Ministry of Finance of the Maldives and the High Commission of India to Maldives.
To strengthen efforts in the field of crisis management between the two countries
v.An agreement between EXIM Bank of India and Ministry of Finance, Maldives, for Police Infrastructure.
vi.Letter of Intent on Buyer’s Credit funding approval of USD 119 million for additional 2,000 social housing units to be constructed in Hulhumale, between the Ministry of Finance of the Maldives; and the Exim Bank of India.
Other Highlights of Meeting:
i.India has offered a new additional Line of Credit(LOC) of USD 100 mn to finance infrastructure projects in the Maldives.
ii.They agreed to further deepen institutional linkages for cooperation in the areas of defence and security, investment promotion, human resource development, infrastructure development including climate and energy.
iii.India will provide 24 vehicles and a naval vessel (second Landing Assault Craft-LCA ship) to the Maldivian security forces, besides developing police infrastructure in 61 islands in Maldives.
- India will also provide a replacement ship for the Coast Guard Ship (CGS) Huravee provided earlier to Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).
iv.India also approved to award of contract for the USD 128 million Hanimadhoo airport project; and to commence the tendering process of the USD 324 million Gulhifahlu port development project.
i.The ‘Addu Development Project – Road Development and Reclamation’ is one of the priority projects included under the USD 800 million Line of Credit extended to the Maldives.
ii.The project has been split into two packages for its implementation.
iii.It is being implemented under the USD 800 million LOC extended to Govt of Maldives.
Other Meeting & Visits of President Mohamed Solih:
i.The Maldivian President also paid a courtesy call on the 15th President of India, Droupadi Murmu in New Delhi.
- This was the first meeting with foreign head of state since Indian President Murmu took office.
ii.He also held a meeting with Union Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) where they discussed projects in the Maldives that are being carried out with the assistance of the Indian government.
iii.In Mumbai, he met Governor of Maharashtra, Bhaghat Singh Koshyari, and discussed topics of mutual interest and prospects for collaboration.
iv.The president also visited Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Mumbai. There he was briefed on the history and operations of the port facilities by the Chairman of JNPT, Sanjay Sethi.
v.He also attended business forums in the New Delhi, and Mumbai.
- During India-Maldives Business Forum in New Delhi, he invited Indian entrepreneurs to the Maldives to explore business opportunities,
- The India-Maldives Business Forum in Mumbai was hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to discuss promoting economic links between the two countries.
vi.He visited the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and held discussions with the board members and other management staff there. The BSE, which was established in 1875, is Asia’s first stock exchange, with over 5000 companies listed on it.
Points to be noted:
i.In July 2022, Chief of Maldivian defence forces Major General Abdulla Shamaal visited India.
ii.In March, 2022 India’s MEA Minister S. Jaishankar visited Male, and handed over a coastal radar system to the country.
iii.India is providing LoC of over USD 1.2 billion for infrastructure and grants for community development projects to Maldives.
iv.The Maldives is one of India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the overall bilateral ties including in areas of defence and security.
Recent Related News:
i.This MoU was signed between the National Centre for Information Technology (NCIT) of Maldives and the National Informatics Centre of India (NIC) to strengthen cooperation in the field of information communication technology.
ii.A MoU signed for reciprocal recognition of COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates signed between the Maldives Ministry of Health and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW).
Currency– Maldivian Rufiyaa