NEW DELHI: With
, India on Thursday announced
in the Maldives, including a $ 500 million Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP), billed as the
in the country.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, after a meeting with his counterpart Abdulla Shahid, also announced the creation of an air bubble with the Maldives to facilitate movement of people from both sides for employment, tourism, medical emergencies.
India said in a statement that it will support implementation of GMCP in Maldives, through a financial package consisting of a grant of $100 million and a new Line of Credit of $400 million.
Jaishankar noted that this will be the largest civilian infrastructure project in the Maldives, connecting Malé with three
– Villingili, Gulhifahu (where a port is being built under Indian LoC) and Thilafushi (new industrial zone) – by construction of a bridge-and-causeway link spanning 6.7 km.
“Once completed, this landmark project will streamline connectivity between the 4 islands, thereby boosting economic activity, generating employment and promoting holistic urban development in the Malé region,” said the government.
India will fund the implementation of Greater Male Connectivity Project through a $400 mn LOC & $100 mn grant. This… https://t.co/jt4St9M13K
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar)1597305652000
India also announced the commencement of a direct cargo ferry service between India and the Maldives and extension of urgent financial assistance worth $250 million, given the financial challenges faced by the island nation due to the Covid-19 situation. The minister announced that India had decided to extend in-principle urgent financial assistance to the Maldives by way of a soft loan arrangement. Exact modalities of the loan arrangement are being finalised by the two sides.
Maldives is the first neighbouring country with which an air bubble is being operationalised, said the government. The air bubble symbolises India’s support to shore up tourism arrivals and revenues in the Maldives. Health protocols in both countries will be strictly followed. The first flight under the Air Bubble is expected to commence on August 18.