State minister: India’s development inseparable from that of neighbors

State Minister for External Affairs of India, V. Muraleedharan (CR) attends the inauguration of physical works on the project to upgrade the Gan International Airport on June 4, 2023. (Photo/President's Office)

India’s own development is inseparable from the rest of the world, particularly that of the country’s neighbors, states the State Minister for External Affairs of India, V. Muraleedharan.

Speaking at the inauguration of the physical works on the upgrade of the Gan International Airport on Sunday, Muraleedharan said Maldives and India are joined not just by physical proximity, but the desire to build a prosperous future.

“Maldives is a key partner for India in the Indian Ocean region. In the words of Prime Minister Modi “the India-Maldives partnership is not only working in the interests of the citizens of both countries, but is actually a source of peace, stability and prosperity for the entire region”,” he said.

Muraleedharan said that the Neighborhood First policy of India has acted in concert with the India First Policy of Maldives to strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries.

He said that the relationship between Maldives and India has achieved new heights under the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Solih.

“The cooperation between our two countries have moved beyond these traditional roles, and now encompasses a truly modern partnership. The development cooperation between the two countries has expanded by leaps and bounds over the recent years,” he said.

“Today, India is Maldives’ largest trade partner. We are also witnessing greater investment flows from India to Maldives.”

Muraleedharan said it is their endeavor to share India’s experiences, learnings and models as possible templates for others, particularly in the global south, and also to promote a universal sense of oneness through enhancing connectivity.

“We believe that India’s own development is inseparable from the rest of the world, particularly that of the neighborhood,” he said.

Muraleedharan said development cooperation has emerged as a key pillar of the multifaceted partnership between Maldives and India.

“Our comprehensive development partnership covers grants, concessional credit, budgetary support, capacity building and trading assistance. We are happy to see these projects take off, getting delivered on the ground, and benefiting people,” he said.

The re-development of the Gan International Airport is valued at USD 29.7 million (MVR 455.8 million). The project is contracted to India’s Renaatus, and is financed with a loan from the country’s EXIM Bank.