Skip to main content

India plans to outbuild China in the Maldives


India-backed Greater Male Connectivity Project is a direct counter to China's Belt and Road Initiative in the island nation
India plans to build a major bridge to connect islands in the Maldives. Image: Facebook

MUMBAI – India has committed to build crucial infrastructure projects and invest in the Maldives in a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).  

India plans to help construct the Indian Ocean archipelago’s biggest civilian infrastructure project that will connect the capital Male with three neighboring islands Villingili, Gulhifahu, and Thilafushi with a 6.7-kilometer bridge and causeway.

The project promises to fundamentally change the Maldives’ economy and topography surrounding Male through greater connectivity. The plan is part of India’s commitment to invest $100 million as a grant to develop the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP).

India will also provide a $400 million line of credit to the Maldives. A new industrial zone will be constructed on the island of Thilafushi, while a port will be built on the other two islands with Indian assistance.

Following the rise of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in November 2018, the archipelago has sought to review several Chinese BRI projects initiated by his predecessor Abdulla Yameen.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 7, 2017 Maldives' President Abdulla Yameen (L) and China's President Xi Jinping listen to their national anthems during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.Back when he was a mild-mannered civil servant, few in the Maldives predicted Abdulla Yameen would one day run the country, let alone with an iron grip, locking up judges, his rivals and even his 80-year-old half-brother. / AFP PHOTO / Fred DUFOUR
Then Maldives President Abdulla Yameen (L) and China’s President Xi Jinping listen to their national anthems during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: AFP/Fred Dufour

The biggest and most visible project under the scheme is the 1.4-kilometer Maldives-China Friendship Bridge, which connects Male with the eastern islands of Hulhule and Hulhumale.

The Maldives, along with other Asian countries including Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, have raised concerns about the financial terms of BRI projects, fearing what some have referred to as possible “debt traps.”

India’s discomfort was palpable when Yameen’s regime favored China and Chinese companies and opened its seas to its submarines and naval vessels. The Maldives has claims to large maritime rights in the central Indian Ocean because of the geographical spread of its 1,200 islands.

India is the island nation’s largest and closest neighbor, with its northernmost islands about 500 kilometers south of India’s southern tip.

At the same time, India fears being encircled by China and its increasing presence in neighboring countries including Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, facilitated by ports and other infrastructure Beijing has helped to build.

India is now bidding to woo back some of its neighbors, including the Maldives, through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Neighbourhood First” policy. Solih has responded with his own “India First” policy.

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (R) embraces Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Solih’s presidential inauguration in Male, November 17, 2018. Photo: Handout/PIB/AFP

The GMCP was a key promise made by Solih during his election campaign. The project will serve as an infrastructural complement to the new Gulhifalhu port that’s being built with an $800 million line of credit from India.

The project’s advocates say it has the potential to create jobs, promote tourism and become an economic growth-generating urban hub once the four main islands surrounding the now congested Male are connected.

Indian Foreign Ministers Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid agreed to the investment scheme after a virtual meeting on August 13.

Maldives, which depends mainly on tourism for economic growth, has faced a severe financial crunch after a lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus and the lack of foreign tourists. Its economy could contract by 11% to 14%, according to World Bank estimates.

India has provided a $400 million currency swap facility to the Maldives to help with its foreign exchange shortage and growth contraction. The Maldives faces a $395 million budgetary shortfall this year.

The Maldives and India also plan an “air bubble” to allow travel between the two countries without restrictions after passengers meet medical requirements to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The first flight is expected on August 18.

In another bilateral move, the two countries will start a direct cargo ferry service to increase trade and help the Maldives with supplies that have grown scarce because of Covid-19.

An aerial view of the island of Male which is the capital of the Maldives. Photo: AFP/Roberto Schmidt


https://asiatimes.com/2020/08/india-plans-to-outbuild-china-in-the-maldives/

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed. Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area” For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number” Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell yo

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میں Please help the deserving persons... Salary: Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows; Welder: Rs. 1,700 daily Heavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 daily Mason: Rs. 1,500 daily Helper: Rs. 850 daily Electrician: Rs. 1,700 daily Surveyor: Rs. 2,500 daily Security Guard: Rs. 1,600 daily Bulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 daily Concrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 daily Roller operator: Rs. 2,000 daily Steel fixer: Rs. 2,200 daily Iron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 daily Account clerk: Rs. 2,200 daily Carpenter: Rs. 1,700 daily Light duty driver: Rs. 1,700 daily Labour: Rs. 900 daily Para Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 daily Pipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 daily Storekeeper: Rs. 1,700 daily Office boy: Rs. 1,200 daily Excavator operator: Rs. 2,200 daily Shovel operator: Rs. 2,200 daily Computer operator: Rs. 2,200 daily Security Supervisor: Rs.

A ‘European Silk Road’

publication_icon Philipp Heimberger ,  Mario Holzner and Artem Kochnev wiiw Research Report No. 430, August 2018  43 pages including 10 Tables and 17 Figures FREE DOWNLOAD The German version can be found  here . In this study we argue for a ‘Big Push’ in infrastructure investments in greater Europe. We propose the building of a European Silk Road, which connects the industrial centres in the west with the populous, but less developed regions in the east of the continent and thereby is meant to generate more growth and employment in the short term as well as in the medium and long term. After its completion, the European Silk Road would extend overland around 11,000 kilometres on a northern route from Lisbon to Uralsk on the Russian-Kazakh border and on a southern route from Milan to Volgograd and Baku. Central parts are the route from Lyon to Moscow in the north and from Milan to Constanţa in the south. The southern route would link Central Europe with the Black Sea area and