• Sunday, Sep 20, 2020
  • Last Update : 10:22 am

India seeks to counter China sway in Maldives with bridge project

  • Published at 08:07 pm August 13th, 2020
India seeks to counter China sway in Maldives with bridge project
The newly opened Sinamale Bridge -- formerly known as the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge after a major funding input from China -- in the Maldives capital Male on September 18, 2018 AFP

'Once completed, the project will be the single largest infrastructure project in the Maldives'

India on Thursday pledged $500 million to build bridges and causeways in the Maldives, as New Delhi seeks to counter growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.

The Maldives borrowed billions of dollars from Beijing and hired Chinese firms for infrastructure projects under previous President Abdulla Yameen.

This stoked concerns in India and the West that China was saddling countries in Asia and beyond with unsustainable debts while expanding its sphere of influence.

Under the new Maldives government, India has sought to regain influence in the archipelago nation of 340,000 people and 1,192 islands located on major East-West shipping lanes.

The new investment announced takes India's total pledged outlay to over $2 billion since President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih came to power, India's foreign ministry said.

Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said the new money was part of a financial package to build bridges and causeways linking the capital Male to three neighbouring islets.

"Once completed, the project will be the single largest infrastructure project in the Maldives," Shahid said in a statement.

In total, they will also be more than three times longer than the $200-million "China-Maldives Friendship Bridge" completed under Yameen with Chinese loans which has since been re-named.

It was not clear how long the new project would take.

Shahid also said his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in their talks Thursday had pledged $250 million to meet urgent needs and support efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The virus has infected over 5,300 people and claimed 21 lives in the Maldives, where its crucial tourism industry took a battering.

"There has been a reset in our relations," an Indian diplomat said after the bilateral talks via video conference.

"In the last one-and-a-half years, President Solih and his government have acted on its 'India First' policy in right earnest. In line with its 'Neighbourhood First' policy, India has worked proactively to deepen its ties with the Maldives."

52
51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail