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Foreign Secretary’s Remarks at the Handing Over of Children’s Parks for 67 Islands in Maldives under Cash Grant Projects, National Stadium, Malé

Posted on: November 09, 2020 | Back | Print

Minister of Youth, Sports, and Community Empowerment, Hon. Ahmed Mahloof,
Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid,
Hon. Members of the Peoples’ Majlis,
Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is indeed an honour for me to be here at this prestigious venue. This is the same venue, where two years ago, the swearing in of President Solih took place. On that historic occasion, Prime Minister Modi was present to convey his greetings in person. Images of the two leaders at this event are still very vivid in people’s minds.

Our bilateral relations entered a new phase that day which has brought our countries closer than ever before in the past.

India is your closest neighbour and friend. We are committed to your development. India’s development assistance to Maldives today is multifaceted. It is aimed at supporting GoM in building infrastructure, broadening the economic base, making the economy more robust and resilient and acting as a catalyst for development.

The projects range from large investment projects to focused High Impact Community Development Projects, meant to have an immediate and positive impact on the lives of the island communities. As these projects are driven by the needs of communities on the islands, they will further promote the local economy and contribute towards creating job-opportunities in the islands.

In the last two years, Maldives has seen the fruition of key development cooperation initiatives taken during the State Visit of President Solih to India in Dec 2018 and subsequent high level engagements. The financial package of US$ 1.4 billion announced during the State Visit, as well as projects funded by the HICDP grant and cash grant announced last March have now become a reality for all to see.

The gifting of children’s parks for 67 islands which we are witnessing today is a good example. The islands which will benefit are dispersed from the North to the South. The smiles it will bring to the children and their parents cannot be described in words.

Since then, the Indian Government has provided additional assistance of US$ 500 million for the Greater Malé Connectivity Project. This project which will connect Malé with Villingli, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi through bridges and causeways, will become a new economic lifeline for Maldives. It will link capital Malé, with the new commercial port at Gulhifalhu, also being funded under and Indian LoC, and the Thilafushi industrial zone.

Honouring the democratic traditions cherished by both countries, the underlying principles of India’s development cooperation of transparency, competitive pricing and ownership of the host country will be adhered to in implementation of the GMCP project. India’s development projects in Maldives are demand-driven and will involve the Maldivian government at all stages. The tendering process and award of contract will also be done by the Government of Maldives.

We are committed to speedy implementation of the projects. We are already in the middle of completing procedures for the LOC US$ 1.2 billion projects.

The Covid pandemic has caused widespread disruptions, but I am happy that even Covid could not stop or slow down India-Maldives cooperation. President Solih has himself publicly pointed out that India has been the largest supporter and assistance provider in dealing with the pandemic. Last month India provided US$ 250 million financial assistance, as a concessional loan, leaving it entirely to GoM to decide its usage in accordance with its priorities.

It is reassuring that when we emerge from the pandemic, we will emerge together with our partnership stronger than ever before. We will work together with you to mitigate the socio-economic impact of Covid. We have striven to ensure that there are no disruptions in our support to Maldives as was seen in the case of the continued supply of onions even in the wake of export restrictions imposed by India for others.


Our Prime Minister has stated that India will produce an affordable and accessible vaccine for all our partners and friends and in this, as a close neighbour and friend, we will accord priority to Maldives. I am pleased to announce that whenever a vaccine is developed in India, we will share it with the Government of Maldives. Needless to say that this is a continuation of the spirit of bilateral relationship based on friendship, mutual trust and respect and India will continue to be the first responder to any emergency situation in the Maldives since decades.

Standing at this prestigious venue, I wish to say that we recognize the immense sports talent in the Maldives. India has been involved in coaching Maldivian sportsmen in different games. India has also commenced a comprehensive cricket coaching programme for your cricketing talent.

I am informed that coaching sessions for the coaches and umpires have already taken place and coaching of your 30 member men’s and 30 member women’s team will commence soon in Chennai. The state of the art Cricket Stadium being built in Hulhumale, along with a coaching centre, will further boost cricketing talent in the Maldives.

I hope that an IPL match can be hosted in the Maldives in the near future.

We congratulate the Maldives for being selected as the host for the Indian Ocean Island Games in 2023. We support your efforts to make this a successful event.

I am very happy that today we have also signed an MOU on Cooperation in Sports and Youth Affairs. I am confident that this MOU will pave way to further enhance our ongoing cooperation in these fields and bring mutual benefits to our people. It will facilitate exchange of expertise and visits of youth delegations, athletes, coaches, experts etc.


It is an honour for me to speak to so many MPs from the complete spectrum of political parties in the Maldives.

Both India and the Maldives have placed an abiding faith in democracy. India stands with Maldives on this chosen path of democracy, to assist your democratic journey. The end beneficiaries of Indian projects, big and small, are the people of the Maldives. As elected representatives of the people, we seek your support for the successful implementation of these projects which will bring development and prosperity to the Maldives and its people.

I once again thank the Minister of Youth, Sports, and Community Empowerment, Hon. Ahmed Mahlouf for organizing this event and the opportunity to address those present here.

I thank you.

November 09, 2020


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