India’s Foreign Secretary (FS) Harsh Vardhan Shringla concluded a Two-day visit to Maldives on November 9-10, 2020. The visit will be the first high level in-person interaction between two sides since the disruption caused by COVID-19 Pandemic.
i.During the visit FS called-on President of Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to discuss key bilateral issues. He also met with Maldivian Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Tourism and Youth & Sports, Maldivian Speaker Mohamed Nasheed to discuss key issues.
ii.Both Sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral ties, ongoing bilateral projects and held discussions on the current COVID situation. The discussions also included India’s continued assistance to Maldives for its post-Covid Economic Recovery.
iii.FS reviewed the progress of ongoing development projects under USD 1.3 Billion (~ INR 9704.50 crores) Financial Package.
iv.India will also support Maldives Foreign Minister’s candidature for UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) President.
v.He appreciated the “India First” Policy of Maldives and stated that India reciprocated it through “Neighborhood First” policy.
Four Memorandum of Understanding (MoU):
The Two Countries signed 4 MoUs during the meeting. They are
i.MoU on Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP).
ii.MoU on Cooperation in Sports and Youth Affairs.
iii.Two MoU for “High Impact” Community Development Project.
Details about the MoU:
Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP)
i.It included a Grant of USD $100 Million (~ INR 746.5 Crores). The Total cost of the project is $500 Million, the rest $400 Million will also be provided by India.
ii.It is the largest ever such infrastructure project undertaken in the Maldives.
iii.It involves the construction of a series of bridges and causeways that amount to 6.7 kilometres long connecting Male to Villingili, the industrial zone in Thilafushi, together with the newly proposed International Port at Gulhifalhu.
MoU on cooperation in Sports and Youth Affairs
i.To increase cooperation between two countries in the field of sports.
ii.It seeks to increase training opportunities for aspiring athletes and coaches, as well as harness new skills and gain valuable experience, thus heightening the people-to-people connections between the Maldives and India.
Two MoU for “High Impact” Community Development Projects.
i.Establishment of the Agricultural Research Centre in Hanimaadhoo. The Research Centre will set up a plant and soil testing laboratory. A Grant of Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) – 1.71 Million (~ INR 8.16 Lakhs) has been granted for the project.
ii.Development of Drug Detoxification Centre in Addu City Hulhudhoo. A grant of MVR 7.7 Million (~ INR 37.26 Lakhs) has been granted for the project.
i.FS then attended the handover ceremony of the Children’s Park Equipment Project which was developed under the Indian Grant Assistance Scheme. Hosted by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Development at the National Stadium.
ii.He also laid the foundation for the Ekuveni Synthetic Track which is partially financed by the Indian Grant Assistance Scheme.
Recent Related News:
i.September 21, 2020, India extends US $250 million support to Maldives amid Covid-19; routed through Treasury bonds subscription by SBI.
ii.September 24, 2020, Airports Authority of India Commenced Works on Airport Expansion Project in Maldives.
Currency– Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR)
President– Ibrahim Mohamed Solih