Despite clear overtures of the newly-elected President of Maldives — Mohamed Muizzu — towards China, India extended financial support worth Rs 770 crore last year (FY 2023-24) for developmental projects in the country.
According to the Interim Budget figures presented to Parliament on Thursday (1 February), India allocated Rs 770.90 crore in the revised estimate (RE) of FY 2023-24 for infrastructure projects in the Maldives, an increase from the budget estimate (BE) of Rs 400 crore.
This increased allocation is designated for an ambitious infrastructure project in the Maldives — the Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP). Moreover, an allocation of Rs 600 crore is reserved for the GMCP this year (FY 2024-25).
This financial support comes at a time when Maldivian President Muizzu, who won the general elections on an anti-India campaign, is demonstrating a clear inclination towards China. Recently, a controversy erupted, leading to the dismissal of three government ministers for making racist comments against Indians.
This incident occurred after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promoted tourism in the Lakshadweep chain of islands, which reportedly irked some Maldivian officials.
Notably, Indian tourists represented the largest volume of tourists in the Maldives in 2023. However, following the controversy, India's ranking as a source of tourists for the Maldives dropped to the 5th spot.
Apart from the Maldives, Nepal and Afghanistan also received increased allocations of Rs 650 crore and Rs 220 crore, up by Rs 100 crore and Rs 20 crore respectively.
Bhutan remains the largest beneficiary of Indian support, receiving Rs 2,398.97 crore. Additionally, Rs 100 crore was allocated for the development of Chabahar port in Iran.
Furthermore, the Indian government has sanctioned financial aid to Bangladesh, Mauritius, Seychelles and Myanmar, amounting to Rs 130 crore, Rs 330 crore, Rs 9.91 crore and Rs 370 crore respectively, aimed at bolstering the socio-economic growth of these nations.
This financial support underscores India's commitment to fostering collaboration and bolstering the socio-economic and infrastructural progress in its neighbouring countries.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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