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India is supporting 65 community development projects worth USD 23 million in the Maldives and steady progress has been achieved in implementing them, the Indian mission said on Thursday. Of the 47 High Impact Community Development Projects in Maldives under grant aid by the Government of India approved till November 2023, as many as eight are already completed.

Notwithstanding the diplomatic row in recent times, India is supporting 65 community development projects worth MVR 360 million (USD 23 million) in the archipelagic nation, the High Commission of India said.

“While the grant is being provided by the Indian government, the projects are selected in order of priority as set by the Maldivian government. Implementation of these projects are also undertaken by institutions appointed by the Maldives government,” news portal said.

“Happy to note steady progress of Greater Male Connectivity Project, being implemented with Indian grant and concessional credit @USD 500 million. GMCP is a transformational infrastructure project which will stimulate economic growth and improve ease of living in Maldives.” The Indian High Commission posted on its official X handle on Wednesday.

The post on X came after Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the High Commission of India in Maldives held a two-day meeting to review the ongoing projects when it was discussed that even as eight projects are completed, the rest of the High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) remain at different levels of progress.

These include a wide variety of projects spread throughout the atolls. Some initiatives included are the establishment of fish processing plants, drug detoxification centres, cultural centres, youth centres and sports complexes, reported.

Ambassador at Large Ahmed Naseer and High Commissioner of India to Maldives Munu Mahawar co-chaired the meeting, which saw the participation of senior government officials and other stakeholders.

The Memorandum of Understanding for this Indian Grant Assistance on implementation of these High Impact Community Development Projects through local institutions was initially signed between India and Maldives on March 17, 2019, it said, adding, “At the time, the MoU outlined a grant totalling USD 5.5 million (MVR 85 million).” In 2021, this MoU was renewed, increasing the grant to (USD 10 million) MVR 155 million; in January 2023, yet another MoU for grant assistance was signed, this time with a USD 6.5 million (MVR 100 million) increment, bringing the HICDPs grant from India to Maldives to a total of USD 16.5 million (MVR 255 million).

Additionally, there are also cash grant projects worth over USD 7 million (MVR 107 million), for multiple projects, it added.

India-Maldives relations started going south when within hours of his oath-taking in November 2023, President Mohamed Muizzu demanded India to withdraw its military personnel manning three aviation platforms from his country. The last of the military personnel were repatriated earlier this month and replaced by civilian personnel from India.