The Indian government has handed over USD 250 million to the Maldives, as budgetary support to mitigate the economic impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, making it the largest single donor assistance the island nation has received.
This was done at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday, where High Commissioner of India Sunjay Sudhir presented the symbolic cheque to Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid. Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer, State Bank of India (SBI) CEO Bharat Mishra, and officials from the foreign ministry, finance ministry and Indian High Commission, were present at the ceremony as well.
The USD 250 million is in response to an request made by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for financial assistance to overcome the difficult economic situation.
While India noted that the aid is being provided in the most “favorable” terms for the Maldivian government, it is being provided as a budgetary support without conditions.
The financial assistance package was announced in August during a virtual meeting between Shahid and the Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishanakar, and is being provided through a treasury bond sale to the State Bank of India.
Expressing gratitude, FM Shahid said that India “has proven time and time again that the Maldives - India partnership will be high priority.”
While the whole world has closed their borders, India has proved that Covid-19 will not force them to close their hearts to the Maldivian people.”
~ Abdulla Shahid, Maldives Foreign Minister
He said that the Indian financial assistance “will support the financing of the revenue gap, and meet the government’s immediate financing needs.”
Further highlighting the USD 1.4 billion financial package announced in December 2018 as well as cash grants for community projects, the minister said that “this is by far the largest single donor assistance Maldives has received.”
India’s assistance to Maldives amid the Covid-19 pandemic has been immense, from evacuation of Maldivians stranded in Wuhan, China where Covid-19 was first discovered to sending medical experts and providing essentials. Further, India is also allowing Maldivian patients requiring advanced medical care to travel there despite border closure.