MALÉ, Maldives — A contract for constructing the largest-ever infrastructure project funded by India in the Maldives was signed on Aug. 26.

The contract was inked between the archipelagic nation’s government and Maharashtra-based construction and engineering company Afcons Infrastructure.

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid on Aug. 26 thanked India for extending financial assistance in the construction of the “Greater Male Connectivity Project.”.

“Constructed with financial support from India, the largest infrastructure project to be executed in the Maldives will stand as an enduring tribute to the strong Indo-Maldives Partnership,” he said in a tweet.

“Thank you, PM Narendra Modi and EAM S Jaishankar, for supporting our development journey.”

The Greater Male Connectivity Project will be the Maldives’ most significant infrastructure project, funded under the Indian Grant and Line of Credit.

Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar responded to Abdullah’s remarks and said, “India is proud to be a key development partner of Maldives, deeply committed to its national progress.”

Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives, Sunjay Sudhir, said that the “Greater Male Connectivity Project” is the biggest project India is doing in the Maldives and the biggest infrastructure project in the Maldives overall.

“The Greater Male Connectivity Project is concrete proof that India is a robust development partner of the Maldives in addition to being the First Responder in times of any emergency in the Maldives,” Sudhir said.

“This iconic project will give a major boost to the Maldivian economy.”

India and Maldives signed the Greater Male Connectivity Project agreement in 2020.

The project aims to revitalize the Maldivian economy through a $400 million Line of Credit and $100 million grant linking its capital Male with Gulhifalhu Port and Thilafushi industrial zone and a regular cargo ferry service between the two countries to boost trade and commerce.

This project involves constructing a series of bridges and causeways that amount to 6.7 kilometers (4.16 miles) long, connecting Male to Vilingili, the industrial zone in Thilafushi, and the newly proposed International Port at Gulhifalhu.

This project will be an infrastructural complement to the Gulhifalhu commercial port project, which is being done under an Indian Line of Credit of $800 million.

Since the current Male port has already reached its maximum physical capacity, the Maldives Government has shifted the Male port to Gulhifalhu island.

This has given rise to the need to consider link bridges to the three industrial islands for seamless connectivity, as per sources.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Praveen Pramod Tewari

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