India inks 6 pacts to help Maldives
   Date :03-Aug-2022

INDIA on Tuesday announced it will provide the Maldives two naval vessels and rolled out a raft of assistance including a USD 100 million lines of credit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that close defence and security coordination between the two sides is vital for peace and stability in the entire region.
After wide-ranging talks between Modi and visiting President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the two sides signed six agreements to expand overall cooperation in a range of areas such as cyber security, housing and disaster management. In his media statement, Modi said India “has been and will” continue to be the “first responder” to any need or crisis facing the island nation.
On his part, Solih, who arrived here on Monday on a four-day visit, said the Maldives will always remain a “true friend” of India and its relationship with New Delhi will always be of “highest priority”.
In the talks, Modi announced the supply of the second Landing Assault Craft (LCA) ship and a replacement vessel for a ship provided earlier to the Maldives National Defence Force. The Prime Minister also announced the gifting of 24 utility vehicles to the Maldives National Defence Force besides extending assistance in building police facilities in 61 islands in that country. The development initiatives unveiled by India included an extension of USD 100 million in a new line of credit, approval to the award of contract for the USD 128 million Hanimadhoo airport project and a green signal for the commencement of tendering process of the USD 324 million Gulhifahlu port development project. India also announced approval to carry out the feasibility report and financial closure for a USD 30 mn cancer hospital project and USD 119 million “buyer’s credit financing” by Exim Bank of India for additional 2,000 social housing units in Hulhumale.
The Maldivian side listed the facilitation of duty-free tuna exports to India from it as a key move to boost trade.
A joint statement said Modi and Solih agreed on “energising” cooperation in maritime safety and security and they expressed satisfaction with the speedy progress made in the pre-construction phase of the Coast Guard Harbour at SIFAVARU.
“Recognising that the security of India and the Maldives are inter-linked, the two leaders reiterated their assurance to be mindful of each other’s concerns on the security and stability of the region; and to not allow their respective territories to be used for any activity inimical to the other,” it said.
The bolstering of bilateral defence and security ties including in the maritime domain comes against the backdrop of concerns over China’s growing forays into the Indian Ocean region, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy.