India signs 7 MoUs for social development projects worth over Rs 12.96 crore with Maldives

Further extending the diplomatic partnership between India and the Maldives, the two countries signed seven MoUs for several development projects worth $1.7 million (over Rs 12.96 crore) on Monday April 18. The development projects promised in the MoUs were taken under the Indian grant. program to support the High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) through local organizations.

The agreements were signed by Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and Indian High Commissioner Munu Mahawar. The Foreign Minister of the Maldives hailed the new projects launched under the MoUs and affirmed that these projects will further strengthen the ties between Male and New Delhi. He further highlighted India’s efforts to assist in the socio-economic development of local communities by promoting health and well-being, youth empowerment and the preservation and protection of culture and heritage.

Shahid hailed India’s commitment to uplifting the socio-economic development of the Maldives and said it will further nurture ties between neighboring nations.

India’s commitment to assisting the socio-economic development of the Maldives

The memorandums of understanding between the duo were signed at a time of simmering tensions in the Maldives over India’s growing investment in the island nation. The opposition in the country had denounced the ruling government’s increased engagement with New Delhi. An “India Out” rally was also planned by the opposition ahead of Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to the Maldives last month.

Notably, the announcement of these seven new projects to be implemented under this program was made during the official visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Addu City in March. In addition to the initiatives that were launched today (April 18), eighteen projects are currently underway under this grant program.

The projects launched today are part of a total of 26.8 million Rufiyaa (equivalent to approximately 1.7 million USD). Investments include the establishment of a mental health center at Addu Equatorial Hospital, a speech therapy unit at Kulhudhufushi Regional Hospital, a prosthetics and orthotics workshop at Hulhumale Hospital, the preservation historical heritage at Noonu Landhoo Maabudhuge and Thaa Dhiyamigili Ganduvaru, development of a multi-sport complex at Noonu Manadhoo.

The two countries had previously signed on March 17, 2019 a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding on India’s grant assistance for the HICDP, for a total grant of 85 million rufiyaa, which was later increased to 155 million rufiyaa (approximately $10 million).

(Image: ANI)

Joel C. Hicks