With a strong focus on improving the connectivity, India announced the biggest infrastructure project worth USD 500 million in the Maldives. The idea is to connect Male with three neighbouring islands.
The announcement was also made with regards to the creation of an air travel bubble between India and the Maldives to ease the movement of people from India as well as Maldives for tourism, employment, medical emergencies etc. The first flight under the air bubble is expected to operate on August 18, 2020.
S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister in a video conference with his Maldivian counterpart Abdullah Shahid reviewed the state of ‘time-tested’ relations between India and the Maldives and noted with satisfaction that the COVID-19 pandemic has not been able to slow down the pace of bilateral cooperation.
The minister, in a statement said that, “This will be the highest civilian infrastructure project in the Maldives, connecting Male with three neighbouring islands – Villingili, Gulhifahu and Thilafushi (new industrial zone) – by the construction of a bridge-and-causeway link spanning 6.7 km.”
A direct cargo ferry service between both countries will also commence shortly to support the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP) in the Maldives is also on the list. A financial package consisting of a grant of USD 100 million and a new line of credit (LOC) of USD 400 million has been set for the developments.
Once completed, this landmark project will streamline connectivity between the 4 islands, thereby boosting economic activity, generating employment and promoting holistic urban development in the Male region.