Male [ Maldives], December 8, 2008 (ANI): India, Maldives have historical ties that are growing stronger in modern times.
According to some, the Maldives’ earliest settlers were likely ethnic Sinhalese and Dravidian Buddhists who migrated there from South India and modern Sri Lanka in the 5th Century BCE.
Maldives has also been subject to prolonged colonial rule as well as exploitation. The Maldives lies close to the India western coast, approximately 70 nautical miles from Minicoy. Its strategic location at the center of the Indian Ocean commercial sea lanes gives it a high level of importance for India.
It is a member state of the Commonwealth like India. India recognized Maldives shortly after it gained independence in 1965, and established diplomatic relations.
India – Maldives relations cover many areas and are not subject to political contentious issues. India claimed jurisdiction over Minicoy Island decades ago. This was a claim that the Maldives lost in 1976. India has been recognized as a net provider for security. India was instrumental in building trust during the 1988 attempted coup. The prompt withdrawal of the Indian troops when they were no longer needed was a benefit. It helped to pre-empt concerns about India s territorial ambitions within the Maldives.
India was also first to assist Maldives in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami.
These three episodes (1988-2004, and 2014) clearly demonstrated the advantages of India’s closeness and ability to assist Maldives during times of distress.
In January 2020, India distributed 30,000 vials measles vaccines to combat an outbreak in the Maldives. India provided quick and comprehensive assistance to the Maldives during a COVID-19 pandemic. These developments have strengthened India’s reputation as the first responder when the Maldives are faced with a serious crisis.
These humanitarian gestures are widely acknowledged by the government and people of the Maldives. It’s not surprising that the Maldives government (GoM) has adopted an India first policy.
Indian The swearing-in ceremony was attended by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in November 2018. Following the ceremony, they had bilateral discussions, during which Modi informed India of his desire to work closely with him for the rapid and effective implementation of Maldives’ developmental priorities, particularly in infrastructure and health care.
India was, naturally, the destination of the President’s first overseas trip after his inauguration. In December 2018, President Solih visited India to announce a US$1.4 billion financial assistance package. Several infrastructure projects have been started since then, with two of them (Water & Sanitation in 34 Islands and Addu Roads Projects) being executed. In December 2018, the President Solih visited India to view the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore, as well as to inspect the facilities at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
He also discussed the development of cricket within the Maldives as well as strengthening the Maldivian cricket club.
The same goes for the MaldivesThis was the first place PM Modi visited after assuming office for his second term. The visit took place in June 2019. India The session of the Legislature of the Legislature of the was also addressed by n PM Maldives Additionally, several MoUs regarding cooperation and collaboration in domains like hydrography, healthcare and cargo service by water, customs capacity building, governance, and shipping were signed.
In April 2020 and July 2021 PM Modi and President Solih spoke by telephone to discuss the pandemic and India humanitarian assistance to the Maldives. In August 2022, President Solih made an official visit to India.
He was accompanied by a 45-member delegation that included key Ministers such as the Minister of Economic Development and Minister of Finance. During his visit, President Solih was joined by PM Modi to launch the Greater Male Connectivity Project.
Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP), a bridge and causeway linking the capital city Male to the adjacent islands of Thilafushi, Gulhifalhu and Villingli is 6.74 km long. This India-funded project is considered the most important infrastructure project in the country. This project is expected to stimulate Maldivian economic growth by creating jobs and stimulating diverse economic activities.
Recently, Indian’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra visited Maldives on October 20,22. He met with President Solih and Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail as well as Speaker Nasheed, Defense Minister Mariya Didi, Ibrahim Ameer, the Minister of Finance, and other leaders of the Maldives.
He also reviewed the bilateral partnership with Ahmed Latheef, his Maldivian counterpart. Kwatra witnessed also the exchange of USD 100 million Supplementary LOC and the transfer a vessel purchased through grant support to Maldives Correctional Services.
Since 1988, India has been cooperating in security and defence. India has a flexible approach to making provisions for Maldives’ defence equipment and training needs.
In 2016, the two countries agreed to a comprehensive Action Plan for Defence. This was done in order to strengthen their defense partnership. India trained more than 1400 Maldivian National Defence Forces personnel over the last ten years. In 2021-22, 300 training positions (including SPG and NSG training and MIO training), were available.
India was also the largest partner in development for Maldives. In 1995, the Indira Gandhi Memorial hospital in Male was constructed with Indian Grant Aid. A grant from India was also used to complete major renovations in June 2017.
Indian assistance and aid was also used to build several educational institutions including the Maldives Institute of Technical Education (now the Maldives Polytechnic), India Maldives Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies, and National Centre for Police and Law Enforcement. India recently resolved to assist Maldives in putting together a State of Art Cancer Hospital that connects their 150+ health centers on different islands.
The government of Maldives requested that the Hospital be moved from Hulhumale towards Laamu in October 2020. The project will be managed by TATA Memorial Centre (TMC), India. It is now officially included in the Line of Credit.
In August 2022, President Solih visited India and announced that the Cancer Hospital project would be closed financially. India supports the restoration Hukuru Miskiiy, also known as the Friday Mosque with a grant amounting to 8.95 crores.
Hukuru Miskiiy was built in 1658 under the rule of Ibrahim Iskandar I (1648-1687). It is one of the most beautiful and oldest mosques in the Maldives. The restoration project was announced by Prime Minister Modi in his June 2019 address to the Majlis.
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the commissioning of the project. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), arrived in Male’ in March 2021 to begin work.
EXIM Bank of India is supporting the redevelopment of Hanimaadhoo’s and Gan airports. These two projects were funded by the government of India. They were prepared by the Airports Authority of India.
The contract for the Redevelopment and Reconstruction of Hanimaadhoo was awarded by GoM in September 2022. India, Maldives have signed a trade accord in 1981 that allows for export of essential commodities.
India and Maldives bilateral trading has now crossed the USD 300m mark for the first-time in 2021. It reached an amazing USD 323.9 million. The bilateral trade has increased by more than 31 percent over the past year, thanks to the launch of the cargo ship service between the countries in September 2020 and the start of work on three of our Line of Credit projects (LoC) since February 2021.
The growing commercial partnership is further recognized by the introduction of visa-free entry for Indians visiting the Maldives to do business.
Both countries look forward to exploring new avenues and means to deepen and enhance their bilateral relations over the next few years. (ANI)