Indian Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan, conducted a bilateral visit to the Maldives on Sunday, resulting in the signing of ten high-impact project agreements. These agreements are set to be implemented in 11 atolls, showcasing the commitment of both countries to strengthen their ties and promote development in the region.
As per reports, Muraleedharan and his Maldivian counterpart Abdul Shahid jointly inaugurated the construction work of the Gan International Airport redevelopment project, aimed at enhancing inter-regional air connectivity. Notably, this initiative represents the largest infrastructure project funded by the Indian government in the Maldives, with expectations of delivering a substantial boost to the local economy.
Additionally, the two ministers engaged in discussions regarding the progress of the Hanimaadhoo International Airport project, which was initiated in January. The details of the project's implementation were reportedly deliberated upon, further solidifying the commitment of both nations to strengthening connectivity and promoting economic growth in the region.
According to reports, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan, highlighted the nearing of completion of water and sanitation projects in 34 islands and the construction of 4,000 housing units financed by India. He further emphasized the expedited implementation of the $500 million Greater Male Connectivity Project to boost the Maldivian economy.
In his remarks, Muraleedharan praised the Addu Development Project - Roads and Reclamation, which aims to promote the city of Addu as a key regional hub in the southern part of the Maldives. Additionally, he inaugurated two grant-in-aid projects aimed at supporting the development of ecotourism zones in the city.
During his interaction with the media, the MoS highlighted India's support for 45 projects that are focused on benefiting the local community. He mentioned that New Delhi has granted MVR 100 million ($6.5 million) to support High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) in the Maldives.
Muraleedharan also discussed the progress of the Gulhifalhu port project, which is expected to facilitate the efficient loading and unloading of international shipments. The state-of-the-art port has the capacity to handle approximately 400,000 shipping containers annually.
Further, the Indian Minister announced plans to expand the facilities of the Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company Limited (MIFCO). India has pledged support for healthcare facilities in the Maldives, including a cancer specialty hospital. V. Muraleedharan, the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, delivered Tuberculosis medicines and emphasized capacity-building programs. The bilateral relationship is important, with India as the Maldives' second-largest trading partner.
Image source: Statecraft