India gives USD 250 million soft loan to coronavirus-hit Maldives

Updated: 21 September, 2020 10:51 IST | PTI | Male

The grant, provided under the most favourable terms possible, was in response to the request made by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to overcome the difficult economic situation in the Maldives

In this handout photograph taken on September 20, 2020 and released by India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer (L), Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid (2L), High Commissioner of India to the Maldives Sunjay Sudhir (2R) and CEO of SBI in Male Bharat Mishra (R) pose for photographs as they hold a cheque showing the loan made by India to the Maldives, in Male. Pic/AFP
In this handout photograph taken on September 20, 2020 and released by India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer (L), Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid (2L), High Commissioner of India to the Maldives Sunjay Sudhir (2R) and CEO of SBI in Male Bharat Mishra (R) pose for photographs as they hold a cheque showing the loan made by India to the Maldives, in Male. Pic/AFP

India has provided financial assistance of USD 250 million to the Maldives to help it mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian embassy here said on Sunday.

The grant, provided under the most favourable terms possible, was in response to the request made by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to overcome the difficult economic situation in the Maldives.

A handover ceremony was held on Sunday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Maldives to mark the occasion in the presence of Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer, High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir and CEO, SBI, Male Bharat Mishra, the embassy said in a statement.

The financial assistance was announced first during a virtual meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and provided through a Treasury Bond sale to the State Bank of India (SBI), Male which has a tenure of 10 years for repayment, it said.

The India-Maldives partnership is unique and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted this. India will continue to stand by the people and Government of Maldives during these difficult times, the embassy said.

The USD 250 million budgetary support showcases the resilience and reliability of the India-Maldives relationship. India's Neighbourhood First policy and the Maldives' India First policy have worked in tandem during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard the well-being of our peoples.

Today is another milestone in our historic ties that have expanded in scope and risen in ambition in the recent past, it said. India had provided substantial and continued assistance to the Maldives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A team of doctors and specialists visited the Maldives in March to assist in COVID-preparedness. A consignment of 5.5 tonnes of essential medicines was donated in April, another consignment of 6.2 tonnes of medicines was airlifted from 4 Indian cities to Male by the Indian Air Force, and 580 tonnes of food aid was provided in May.

India continuously lifted export restrictions on medical consumables, respiratory apparatus, and testing kits and reagents throughout the pandemic to assist Maldives in its battle against COVID-19.

On the request of the Government of Maldives, India will also send doctors and nurses recruited on short-term contracts to reinforce the health system in the Maldives in the battle against COVID-19. Tourism constitutes a third of the Maldives' national revenue.

Neeza Imad, Minister of State for Economic Development of Maldives, has said that COVID-19 has had a "devastating impact" on the country's economy, particularly to SMEs that account for most of the tourism related employment. As a result of the ongoing crisis, the International Monetary Fund has projected that the country's economy will contract by 8.1 per cent in 2020.

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First Published: 21 September, 2020 10:42 IST

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