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The Maldives: India extends a $50 mn lifeline to prevent it going the Lanka way

The Maldives: India extends a $50 mn lifeline to prevent it going the Lanka way

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Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: Despite its bitter relations with the pro-China Maldives, India has extended a USD 50 million lifeline to the archipelago country in the Indian Ocean if only to rescue it from going the Sri Lanka way, because of its debt burden.

The Maldives on Monday thanked India for extending vital budgetary support of USD 50 million to the island nation, saying it signified the “longstanding friendship” between the two countries.

The Maldives’ Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer expressed gratitude to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and New Delhi for the help, the media reported.

The support was provided through the rollover of a Treasury Bill for an additional year via the State Bank of India, Male, effective from May 13.

“I thank EAM Dr. S Jaishankar and the Government of India for extending vital budgetary support to the Maldives with the rollover of $50 million Treasury Bill. This is a true gesture of goodwill, which signifies the longstanding friendship between Maldives and India,” Zameer said in a post on the social media platform ‘X’.

In an official press release, the Maldives said New Delhi decided to extend the support following a request from Zameer during his three-day official visit to India from May 8 to 10 to discuss bilateral and regional issues.

“The Government of Maldives is highly appreciative of the generous support that the Government of India has been providing to the Maldives in the form of budgetary support. A large number of infrastructural development projects and High Impact Community Developmental projects are underway with the assistance from the Government of India, which consists of a notable part as grant assistance,” the statement said.

This development took place while India-Maldives ties have been facing a rough patch since the archipelago’s pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu assumed office six months ago.

The diplomatic ties remained under stress between the two nations over Muizzu’s insistence on the withdrawal of Indian military personnel operating three military platforms in the island nation.

In January, a controversy erupted after three Maldivian ministers made derogatory remarks about India on social media, in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to boost domestic tourism during his visit to the Lakshadweep islands, closer to the Maldives.

The controversy invited sharp criticism from Indians everywhere, with prominent public figures and celebrities, including Sachin Tendulkar and Akshay Kumar, endorsing domestic travel over international trips.

Despite the controversy, the Centre allocated a grant of Rs 600 crore to the island nation in the Interim Budget for financial year 2025 (FY25). This was 28.33 percent lower than the revised estimates for FY24, but 50 percent higher than the Rs 400 crore allocated in the budget estimate for FY24.

After India withdrew its security personnel from the archipelago nation last week, the Maldives complained that it had no pilots to fly the aircraft that New Delhi had donated.


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