PM Modi assures Maldives of India’s support in mitigating economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic

PTI

File photo: PM Modi

File photo: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India will continue to support Maldives in mitigating the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Replying to Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on twitter yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, their special friendship will always remain, as deep as the waters of the Indian Ocean. Narendra Modi was responding to Maldives President tweet thanking him for India’s financial assistance to the island country.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih called it a landmark moment in Maldives-India cooperation as they received Indian assistance of 250 million dollars as budget support and 500 million dollars for the Greater Malé Connectivity Project. President Solih thanked Mr Modi and people of India for the generosity and friendship.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar over a virtual conversation with his Maldivian Counterpart Abdulla Shahid announced India’s decision to support the implementation of GMCP in Maldives, through a financial package consisting of a grant of USD 100 million and a new Line of Credit of USD 400 million.

External affairs minister noted that this will be the largest civilian infrastructure project in Maldives, connecting its capital city Male with three neighbouring islands. This landmark project will streamline connectivity between the 4 islands boosting economic activity, generating employment and promoting holistic urban development in the Male region.

India has also decided to start air travel bubble between with Maldives to facilitate movement of people from both sides for employment, tourism, medical emergencies. Maldives is the first neighboring country with which an air bubble is being operationalized. The first flight under the Air Bubble is expected to commence on August 18.

External affairs minister also conveyed the decision to renew 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, and eggs as well as river sand and stone aggregates. The quotas assure food security, and the supply of essential construction items, and thereby provide certainty and price stability for such essential items in the Maldives.

During COVID-19 pandemic, when supply chains got disrupted, India continued to support the supply of essential food and construction materials to Maldives. In May 2020, India had also gifted 580 tons of essential food items through Mission SAGAR. India and Maldives have seen a dynamic and ambitious phase of the partnership in last couple of years.