India Funds $ 500 Million Project in Maldives to Counter Chinese Influence | India News
The new investment will finance the construction of bridges and causeways linking the capital Malé to three islets.
India on Thursday pledged $ 500 million to fund the Maldives’ largest infrastructure project, as New Delhi seeks to counter growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.
Foreign ministers from both countries said the new investment – a $ 100 million grant and a new $ 400 million line of credit – was part of a financial package to build bridges and causeways connecting the capital Malé to three neighboring islets.
“When completed, the project will be the largest infrastructure project in the Maldives,” Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said in a statement.
In total, they will also be more than three times as long as the $ 200 million China-Maldives Friendship Bridge completed for President Yameen with Chinese loans, which has since been renamed.
Warm and fruitful discussion with FM @abdulla_shahid of #Maldives. Agreed that the # COVID-19[FEMININE pandémie a encore rapproché les deux nations. Nous serons des partenaires fiables pour répondre à la fois aux aspirations et aux défis. pic.twitter.com/Pozmew1q3S
– Dr S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) 13 août 2020
La nation insulaire de l’océan Indien, populaire auprès des touristes pour ses plages et ses eaux turquoises, est devenue un point focal de l’initiative chinoise “la Ceinture et la Route” visant à établir des liens commerciaux et de transport à travers la région.
Retrouver une influence diplomatique
L’Inde a cherché à regagner une influence diplomatique dans l’île de l’océan Indien après qu’une nouvelle administration, dirigée par le président Ibrahim Solih, a pris le pouvoir à la suite de la défaite du président pro-chinois Yameen aux élections de 2018.
President Solih called the financial package a “historic moment in Maldives-India cooperation”.
The Maldives, a nation of 340,000 people and 1,192 islands on major east-west shipping routes, borrowed billions of dollars from Beijing and hired Chinese companies for infrastructure projects under Yameen’s presidency.
This fueled concerns in India and the West that China was imposing unsustainable debts on countries in Asia and beyond while expanding its sphere of influence.
Yameen was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to five years in prison last year, after facing allegations of being awarded contracts, including for a large bridge connecting Male to Hulhumale Island and a extension of the international airport, to Chinese companies at inflated prices.
Shahid also said his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in their talks on Thursday, pledged $ 250 million to meet urgent needs and support efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The virus has infected more than 5,300 people and killed 21 people in the Maldives, where its crucial tourism industry has been battered.
“There has been a reset of our relations,” said an Indian diplomat after the bilateral talks by video conference.
“Over the past year and a half, President Solih and his government have taken their ‘India First’ policy seriously. In line with its “neighborhood first” policy, India has worked proactively to deepen its ties with the Maldives. “