Grant agreement for bridge to be signed during Indian Foreign Secretary's visit

Foreign Secretary of India Harsh Vardhan Shringla with Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.

The Maldivian Foreign Ministry has announced that the grant agreement of USD 100 million by India to the Maldives to finance the Greater Male’ Connectivity project will be signed by the Foreign Secretary of India Harsh Vardhan Shringla, during his visit to the Maldives in the coming days.

Foreign Secretary Shringla is scheduled to visit the Maldives from November 8-10 and will be the first high-level bilateral visit from India to the Maldives in 2020. 

During the visit, Secretary Shringla will meet with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as well as Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid to review the state of bilateral relations. Secretary Shringla will also meet with key ministers in the Maldivian cabinet. 

In addition to signing the USD 100 million grant agreement, two MoUs to execute High-Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) in the Maldives will also be signed, according to the Foreign Ministry. 

Secretary Shringla will also attend a ceremony to handover equipment to set up Children’s Parks across 67 islands of the Maldives and visit the site of Ekuveni running track in Male’ funded through Indian grant assistance.  

This is the first visit by Secretary Shringla to the Maldives since taking office in January 29, 2020. 

The Secretary’s visit coincides at a time of commencement of a number of different projects in the Maldives with the assistance of India.

Eight large infrastructure projects have been taken up for implementation under the USD 1.2 billion Lines of Credit offered to the Maldives. 

India has also extended a grant of USD 13 million to implement around 30 High-Impact community projects spread across the length of the country in addition to the substantial and swift assistance to the Maldives to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Maldivian economy. 

Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid and External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S. Jaishankar, also met virtually to arrange the USD 250 million assistance for budget support. 

Furthermore, India’s COVID-19 mitigation support included the provision of medicines, food-aid, evacuation of stranded Maldivians from Wuhan, dispatch of a special COVID-19 relief team, exemptions from export restrictions of medical consumables and testing as well as emergency breathing apparatus, maintenance of essential food supplies despite trade disruptions, and a special carve-out for Maldivian patients to travel to India despite travel restrictions. 

The Foreign Ministry stated that the visit by Secretary Shringla was a testament to India’s commitment to expand and deepen the partnership between the two nations.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said “Foreign Secretary’s visit will underscore the significance of our modern and dynamic partnership, and the complementarities inherent in our Neighbourhood First policy, and the India First followed by the Maldives.”