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Press Statement by MOS Shri V. Muraleedharan at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maldives

Posted On: 04 JUN 2023 3:39PM by PIB Thiruvananthpuram

 June 04, 2023

Your Excellency, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid,
Foreign Secretary Ahmeed Latheef
High Commissioner of India to Maldives Munu Mahawar
Distinguished officials,
Local government and local council representatives,
Friends from the media,
Ladies and gentlemen.

I am delighted to be here today in Male’ with Excellency Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid. This is my first visit to Maldives and I hope it will be first of many. I am really touched by the warm welcome I have received in your country.

2. India and Maldives have been able to develop a deep and close cooperation at all levels including political, administrative, entrepreneurial and people to people ties apart from our strong development partnership. Our relationship has achieved huge progress in the last few years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. India’s development cooperation portfolio in Maldives has expanded significantly in the recent years. India has become the largest source of tourism for Maldives and the top destination for Maldivians traveling abroad. In last few months, India has become the largest trading partner of Maldives. We have worked very closely to deal with the challenges of the pandemic.

3. I will briefly speak about India’s development partnership with Maldives. Our comprehensive development partnership covers grants, concessional credit, budgetary support, capacity building and training assistance. We are happy to see several projects taking off, getting delivered on the ground and benefiting people and community. Many of these projects were inaugurated during the visits of EAM Dr. Jaishankar in March 2022 and January 2023.

4. I am happy to note that Water and Sanitation projects in 34 Islands are now nearing completion. Construction of 4000 housing units in Hulhumale is also progressing well with many towers expected to be finished and delivered in the coming months. The Addu Development Project- Roads and Reclamation is a key infrastructure project required for Addu to establish itself as the southern regional hub of the Maldives. India is assisting Government of Maldives towards this goal. I had the opportunity of attend the commencement of the Reclamation work in the presence of His Excellency President Solih, yesterday.

5. Our flagship project in Maldives is the 500 million dollar Greater Male Connectivity Project, which will be a major catalyst for the Maldivian economy. We are committed to expediting its implementation.

6. On the connectivity side, the groundbreaking ceremony of the Hanimaadhoo international airport redevelopment project was held in January 2023. Work on this project is progressing rapidly. I look forward to participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Gan International Airport redevelopment project later today in the presence of His Excellency President Solih.

7. Our other big projects in various stages of implementation include the Gulhifalhu Port project, Expansion of facilities of Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company Limited, and setting up of a cancer specialty hospital in Laamu atoll. I am also happy to note that the USD 40 million LoC projects for improving sports infrastructure is progressing well.

8. Our grant projects are unique of its kind bringing benefit to the local community. We are already partnering on 45 such projects - 27 of these projects have already been completed. I inaugurated two of these projects for development of eco tourism zone in Addu, yesterday, along with Excellency Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and would be inaugurating another one today.

9. Today, you all have witnessed the signing of 10 more agreements for implementation of high impact projects in 11 Atolls in Maldives. The framework agreement for undertaking additional High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) for MVR 100mn under Indian grant assistance was signed during my External Affairs Minister’s last visit in January 2023. We are happy to see the success of the HICDP model expand its footprint and increase its developmental impact on an exponential scale.

10. While we speak about these achievements of bricks and mortar that are essential for prosperity of people of Maldives, one cannot forget the importance of investment in human development. In recent years, we have significantly scaled up our training and capacity building cooperation. Last year alone, more than 1000 Maldivian friends benefited from participation in various in-person training programmes in India.

11. I am happy to have handed over a batch of Tuberculosis medicines to the Maldives upon their request.

12. I had very engaging and fruitful conversations today with Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid. We discussed topics ranging across the whole partnership spectrum. We were happy to the rapid all round progress in our bilateral partnership and close coordination on regional and international issues. As Prime Minister Modi said, the India-Maldives partnership is not only working in the interests of the citizens of both countries, but is actually a source of peace, stability and prosperity for the entire region. It is our endeavour to take the relationship to even newer heights.

13. I conclude by saying that my visit has been highly productive. I hope that the development projects inaugurated during my visit will bring in changes to the lives of the people of Maldives and thus bringing benefits to the economy of the Maldives. I am reassured that our relationship will continue to grow.

Thank you.

-NS-



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Read this release in: Malayalam