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SOURCE: PTI

Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer has said that significant strides have been made in expediting India-assisted projects in the Maldives, as he underscored the government’s commitment to prioritising the resumption and completion of these projects.

Mr Zameer, who visited India from May 8 to 10 on his very first bilateral official visit, said he and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar engaged in bilateral discussions on May 9 to address pivotal matters aimed at expediting the projects initiated with India’s financial assistance.

He said the discussions with S Jaishankar focused on the operational dynamics of the committees entrusted with executing these projects, psmnews.mv reported.

Speaking at a press conference held in the President’s Office, Mr Zameer said India has given the Maldives the green signal to extend the repayment deadline for $ 150 million of a $ 200 million debt. The loan was secured by the previous government upon assuming office in 2019.

Mr Zameer said that $ 50 million of the $ 200 million owed to India was repaid in January. He emphasised that the Indian government has not made any demands in exchange for extending the repayment period of the remaining $ 150 million.

The minister said that a spectrum of initiatives across the Maldives have been kickstarted through loans and grants from India during the previous administration.

He said significant strides have been made in expediting India-assisted projects.

He emphasised the current government’s commitment to prioritising the resumption and completion of these projects. He also underscored his dedication to this endeavour during his recent visit to India.

During the official discussions between the two nations, S Jaishankar reiterated the significance of India’s ongoing projects in the Maldives.

Mr Zameer’s visit to India came amid a downturn in the bilateral ties between the two countries since pro-China president Mohamed Muizzu assumed office six months back.

The relations between the two countries came under severe strain in view of Muizzu insisting on withdrawal of Indian military personnel operating three military platforms in the island nation.

Mr Zameer on Saturday said 76 Indian military personnel were replaced by civilian employees of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited which manufactured the two helicopters gifted by India, thus also ending the suspense over the exact number of those repatriated at the insistence of Male.

However, the Maldives government has no intention of removing the doctors from India at Senahiya.