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India provides additional $15 million to Male for infrastructure development

The Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP) (Photo: Vajiramias/Times of Addu)

India has provided an additional assistance of $15 million to the Maldives for the Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP).

The GMCP includes the construction of a 6.7 km bridge and causeway network connecting capital Male to the villages of Villingili, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi. India had earlier provided $60 million to initiate the project through the EXIM bank.

Indian news agency PTI reported that the grant by India would lead to the construction of the second over-water-bridge for the Maldives.

The Indian High Commission in Male tweeted: "$15 million grant released today for mobilisation work of the Greater Malé Connectivity project. HC @AmbMunu jointly reviewed project-site with @MoNPHImv Minister Mohamed Aslam @AslamAslamtey. India is committed to speedy implementation of this mega-infra project".

The Maldives government feels that the GMCP will speed up growth and economic development as the infrastructure project will connect the areas of Hulhumale, Hulhule and Male with the proposed Gulhifalhu Port and the Thilafushi Industrial Zone.

The GMCP is being financed through a $400 million loan from the EXIM Bank of India. Separately, New Delhi is providing an additional $100 million grant.

The Times of Addu says that the Maldives enjoys a 5-year moratorium and has a 20-year repayment period on the EXIM bank loan.

The project is expected to be completed in two years. It will have a number of smaller bridges, bus terminals on all the islands, solar-powered lighting, navigation lighting, CCTVs and architectural lighting.

Relations between India and the Maldives have been on a high after President Ibrahim Solih took charge of the country in 2018 after previous president Abdulla Yameen was unseated from power by the opposition parties. Yameen was close to China and had signed a number of infrastructure projects with Beijing, some of which ran the risk of pushing the archipelago in a debt trap.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attended the swearing in of Solih, resetting ties between the two nations. Under Solih, New Delhi has replaced Beijing as the preferred development partner for the Maldives.