The redevelopment of the Gan International Airport (GIA) is a connectivity project that will boost investor confidence and bridge the gap between Addu City and the rest of the world, says India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan.
The Indian State Minister made this remark while speaking at the inauguration of the GIA expansion project in Addu City, held on Sunday.
As such, taking the podium at the event, Muraleedharan stated that better connectivity is a prerequisite for an inclusive and equitable development with which greater connectivity finds resonance in the theme for the G20 presidency; “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.
He stated that it is their endeavor to share India's experiences as possible templates for others, particularly in the Global South, and to promote a universal sense of oneness through enhancing connectivity.
Noting that the redevelopment of GIA is a connectivity project that will bridge the gap between Addu City and the rest of the globe, Muraleedharan highlighted that the expansion project will boost investor confidence and increase local tourism in Gan and southern atolls with broader economic gains expected to materialize for the local community.
Improved connectivity within the region will establish the airport as the regional hub connecting to the southern parts of the country, as well as major international destinations around the world. Increased movement to the airport will help boost the fishing industry as the products could then be exported directly from Addu.”V. Muraleedharan, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs.
Further, noting that he had the privilege of participating in the commencement of the Addu land reclamation project work, Muraleedharan described the project to be a major transformative project which will bring immense socio-economic benefits to the people of the southernmost city.
He went on to express belief that India's own development is inseparable from the rest of the world, particularly that of the neighborhood, adding that development cooperation has surfaced as a key pillar of India’s multifaceted partnership with Maldives.
Muraleedharan stated that their comprehensive development partnership covers grants, concessional credit, budgetary support, capacity building and training assistance and expressed joy in observing these projects take off, getting delivered on the ground and benefitting the people.
Shedding light on the Greater Malé Connectivity Project which he described to be the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken in Maldives, Muraleedharan expressed commitment to expedite its implementation.
Construction activity on 4,000 housing units in Hulhumalé is progressing well and drinking water and sanitation projects on 34 islands are nearing completion. Work on the ambitious Hanimaadhoo Airport redevelopment project has commenced. Our high impact projects that are oriented towards the needs of the local communities are progressing well. I'm happy to inform you that our two countries have signed 10 more among use for projects under the second phase of these high impact projects.”V. Muraleedharan, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs.
The Indian State Minister described these initiatives to be a “shining beacon” of India's commitment to enabling the infrastructure development in Maldives.
As such, he noted that there are 10 high-impact projects in Addu under grant assistance currently, out of which some have already been inaugurated with three of them inaugurated during the recent visit of the president.
He stressed that under the line of credit, GIA’s expansion project launched on Sunday has an outlay of USD 29 million, adding that the Addu reclamation project is valued at USD 80 million.
The Indian State Minister went on to shed light on other road projects, which are likely to have an expected allocation of USD 100 million with an expanded scope, adding that all these projects supplement the vision for Addu to become an international connecting hub as well as a sought-after tourist destination.
Muraleedharan added that this would bring tangible socio-economic benefits to the people of the region and expressed joy in stating that the two countries have been doing “exceptionally” well in the past few years, in terms of people-to-people ties and broadening of economic engagement.
Further, he expressed confidence that there will be a significant increase in direct connectivity to India and consequently an even larger number of Indian tourists, with the development of the airports at Gan and Hanimaadhoo.
Stressing that one of the major achievements in the partnership between Maldives and India which is relatively less talked about is its engagement in the area of human resource development, Muraleedharan stated that the two countries have significantly scaled up its cooperation by launching new programs in diverse areas in recent years.
As such, in 2022 alone, more than 1,000 Maldivians benefited from participation in various in-person training programs in India.
Before concluding his speech, the Indian State Minister assured India’s firm commitment to the continued cooperation with the government of Maldives.