India Inks 6 Agreements With Maldives, Offers New $100 Million Credit Line

By Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
August 3, 2022 Updated: August 3, 2022

India inked six agreements with the Maldives on Tuesday to expand bilateral cooperation and offered an additional $100 million line of credit to support development projects in the island nation.

The six pacts signed in New Delhi between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will boost their cooperation in capacity building, cyber security, housing, and disaster management.

The two leaders also launched the Greater Male Connectivity Project, a 4.2 miles (6.74-kilometer)-long bridge and causeway funded by India that will connect the island nation’s capital, Male, to three other islands. It is the largest infrastructure project in the Maldives, costing $500 million.

“We also reviewed projects for the construction of 4,000 social housing units in Greater Male today. I am happy to announce that we will additionally provide financial support for 2,000 social housing units,” Modi said in a statement.

“We have also decided to provide an additional $100 million line of credit so that all projects can be completed in a time-bound manner,” he added.

Modi said that close India-Maldives relations are vital for the peace and stability of the Indian Ocean, where the threat of transnational crime, terrorism, and drug trafficking has become “serious.”

India also aims to bolster defense cooperation with the island nation by supplying 24 vehicles and one naval boat to the Maldives Security Force and assisting in the construction of police facilities on 61 islands of the Maldives.

“India has been and will continue to be the first responder in any need or crisis of the Maldives,” Modi remarked.

India, China Vie for Influence

Solih arrived in India on Monday on a four-day official visit. He described the relations between the Maldives and India as “the highest priority,” adding that his country “will always remain a true friend of India.”

Solih has touted an “India-first policy” and pledged full support toward deepening ties with India since taking office in 2018, a departure from his predecessor, Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who forged close ties with Beijing.

India was concerned by Yameen’s inclination towards China, which sought to gain more influence in the Indian Ocean. Yameen had pledged support for Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, with China investing in many infrastructure projects in the Maldives.

Yameen ruled the Maldives from 2013 to 2018. He was accused of corruption and stifling dissent and the media during his time in office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.