Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared on Thursday that the friendship between Maldives and India is, and will always remain, as deep as the waters of the Indian Ocean.
He made the remark is response to a tweet by the Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih thanking PM Modi and the Indian people for the USD 250 million in budget support and USD 500 million for the Greater Male’ Connectivity Project announced by the Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar earlier this Thursday.
The announcement was made during a digital video conference between Minister Jaishankar and Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.
President Solih hailed the pledge of financial assistance as “a landmark moment in Maldives-India cooperation.”
In response to the remark, PM Modi said that India will continue to support Maldives in mitigating the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our special friendship is, and will always remain, as deep as the waters of the Indian Ocean,” he said.
In addition to financial package of USD 250 million in budget support and financial package of USD 500 million for the Greater Male’ Connectivity Project, which will link Male’, Vilimale’ Thilafushi and Gulhifalhu via bridges and causeways, Minister Jaishankar also confirmed the renewal of quotas for import of essential commodities from India.
It was also announced that an air travel bubble will be established between Maldives and India within a week’s time, the first in South Asia; and cargo ferry services between Cochin and Kulhudhuffushi City will be operationalized within three months.
Maldives and India will mark the 55th anniversary to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries in November this year.