India and the Maldives sign 6 pacts; PM offers $100m line of credit: The Tribune India


Tribune press service

Sandeep Dikshit

NEW DELHI, AUGUST 2

Amid a bitter political tussle with his ally and poster boy for democracy in the island nation, Mohammed Nasheed, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih signed six agreements to expand cooperation in several key areas with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Tuesday.

Videos of Nasheed’s brother having sex with a foreign citizen are circulating on social media in the Maldives, where homosexuality is a crime. Last week, the police arrested a police officer, former parliamentarian and renowned lawyer under court order.

The political tussle between the two pro-India figures comes at a time when former pro-China Maldives president Yameen, who lost to the Solih-Nasheed alliance in 2018, has stepped up the “India Out campaign”.

Coinciding with Solih’s aggressive stance against Nasheed, Prime Minister Modi announced that an additional $100 million line of credit would be extended to the Maldives to expedite work on ongoing development projects. New Delhi also sought political support for Solih by announcing that it would fund 2,000 public housing units in addition to the 4,000 announced earlier. The day also saw the groundbreaking ceremony for India’s Maldives Connectivity Mega Project, which will eclipse the Maldives-China Friendship Bridge as the island nation’s most visible infrastructure project.

A 6.74 km long bridge and causeway over the sea will connect the national capital, Malé, to the eastern islands.

Solih first foreign dignitary to meet Prez

President Draupadi Murmu met with Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday, his first interaction with a foreign dignitary after becoming the country’s first citizen. The President said she was happy to receive a close friend from India and an eminent leader under whose leadership the Maldives has become a stable and prosperous nation. She was pleased to note that India’s needs-based financial and development assistance supports the development priorities of the Government of the Maldives, a press release from Rashtrapati Bhavan said. TNS