President: India has always risen to the occasion whenever Maldives needed a friend

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) is conferred the Order of the Distinguished Rule of Izzuddin by Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (R) on June 8, 2019. (Photo/President's Office)

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Sunday, said that India has always risen to the occasion whenever Maldives needed a friend.

He made the remark in a tweet on Sunday evening, thanking India for the USD 250 million loan granted by the country as budget support to Maldives.

According to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry, the USD 250 million loan was granted in response to “an urgent request made by the President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, in efforts to reduce the economic and financial impact due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The USD 250 million will be provided through subscription in Maldives’ government domestic treasury bonds by the State Bank of India (SBI) in Male’.

In his tweet on Sunday, President Solih thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian government, and the Indian people for their “neighborly spirit and generosity “.

The USD 250 million loan in the form of a treasury bond comes after Indian central bank, Reserve Bank of India released USD 150 million to Maldivian central bank, Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) under a currency swap agreement earlier this year.

Additional assistance by India amid the COVID-19 pandemic include the evacuation of Maldivian students in Wuhan, sending a team of medical professionals to Maldives in March, sending  a 5.5 tonne shipment of medicine in April, and sending a shipment of 580 tonnes of food and 6.2 tonnes of medicine in May.

India has also renewed quotas for export of essential commodities to Maldives, and issue special permission for Maldivian citizens who require urgent medical care to travel to Indian cities. 500 Maldivian citizens have travelled to India for medical care over the past weeks.

Maldives and India have also established an air travel bubble, the first of its kind in South East Asia.