India and Maldives inked the largest ever infrastructure project, this Thursday in a remarkable boost to bilateral ties.
The mega Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP) is the largest infrastructure project in the country funded by an Indian grant of $100 million and a Line of Credit of $400 million.
Further, the project is the biggest developmental project undertaken by India in the recent years, in its neighborhood.
About the GMCP project:
– The Great Male Connectivity Project is set to play an instrumental role in connecting the Maldivian capital ‘Male’ with Villingli, the international port of Gulhaifalhu and the the industrial zone at Thilafushi through the construction of a 6.74 kilometer bridge and causeway link.
– The project encompasses the construction of three navigation bridges of 140 m main span across the deep channel between each island, 1.41 kilometer of marine viaduct in deep water, 2.32 kilometer marine viaduct in shallow water or on land, and 2.96 km of at-grade roads.
– It is set to function as the economic lifeline of the country by connecting its four major islands, where 50% of the Maldivian population lives.
Further, in a boost to renewable energy, the project will use solar power for lighting purposes.
– Indian construction giant AFCONS is tasked with the zealous job of completing the project.
EAM’s 2019 Maldives visit: catalyst for the project
The mega project is an outcome of the bilateral consultations between India and Maldives since EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar’s visit to Male in September 2019.
It is upon the request of the Maldives president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih & foreign minister Abdulla Shahid during the EAM’s visit that the project was undertaken.
What it means for India-Maldives relations?
Maldives’s ‘India First’ foreign policy and India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ foreign policy is what ushered the smooth and speedy development of the massive project upon bilateral consultation.
India and Maldives signed four Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in November 2020. The development is expected to further flourish the bilateral ties between India and Maldives and enable both the nations to explore novel realms of friendship.
Indian aid during Covid-19:
It is rightly said, “A friend in need, is a friend indeed!”
During the inextricable and turbulent times when the global Covid-19 pandemic touched its peak, India extended quick aid to Maldives.
The Indian govt. gave the Maldives government $250 million to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. It further handed over 1,00,000 Covid-19 vaccines to the country. Maldives, in turn, opened its borders to Indian citizens from 15 July and welcomed Indian tourists.