India to finance biggest infrastructure project for Maldives

WION New Delhi Aug 13, 2020, 06.08 PM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

India-Maldives Photograph:( Others )

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The project was a key election promise of the ruling MDP Maldivian Democratic Party and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had personally sought India’s assistance for the project. 

India has announced its support for the largest infrastructure project of Maldives--the Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP).

India will provide funding of $500 million for the project which that will increase connectivity between the country. The $500 financial package consisting of a grant of $ 100 million and a new Line of Credit (LOC) of USD 400 million. 

The announcement came after virtual meet between eternal affairs minister Dr. S. Jaishankar (EAM) and Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid. 

The project was a key election promise of the ruling MDP Maldivian Democratic Party and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had personally sought India’s assistance for the project. 

The project will connect capital Malé with Villingili, Thilafushi and Gulhifalhu via bridges and causeways of a total length of 6.695 kilometres. Out of the total length, the bridge-section will be 2.08 kms, 780 m causeway section and 3.87 Km embankment and causeway section. 

Villingili is near capital Male, Thilafushi is an artificial island created as a municipal landfill and a new industrial zone and Gulhifalhu will be furthered developed into industrial location.

Indian readout of the meet said,"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."

As of now 1.39 km Maldives-China Friendship bridge connecting Malé with Hulhule and Hulhumale to its east has been the most visible infra-project of the country but the new mega Indian financed projected will dwarf it once completed. 

In Gulhifahu which is part of Greater Malé Connectivity Project, a port is being developed under India's LoC worth $800 million.

Under Indian line of credit several projects are already in construction including water supply and sewerage systems on 34 Island, Hanimadhoo International Airport Redevelopment, construction of international cricket stadium in Hulhumale, ccancer hospital in Hulhumale spaning the country geographical from the northernmost to the southernmost islands of Maldives.

Other than internal connectivity, plans to connect to India-Maldives are also underway. The cargo ferry service between Cochin to Kulhudhufushi-Malé will be operationalised within the next few months. Ministry of external affairs in its release said,"direct cargo ferry service will commence shortly."

Kulhudhuffushi known as "Heart of the North" is the capital of Haa Dhaalu Atoll and near to the Indian state of Kerala. The ferry service was announced last year during PM Modi's visit to the country. 

India has also renewed quotas for supply of essential commodities to Maldives for the year 2020-21. The commodities include food items like potatoes, onions, rice, wheat, flour, sugar, dal and eggs as well as river sand and stone aggregates. The quotas assure food security and the supply of essential construction items in the Maldives.

During COVID-19 pandemic, India had made sure supply lines for essential food and construction materials continue to the Maldives. It also gifted 580 tons of essential food items through Mission SAGAR.