After almost two years of testy ties, India and Maldives will seek to repair their relationship in the run-up to the visit by the newly elected President, Abdulla Yameen, from December 23 to 25, according to sources in the government.
The process will begin next week during the visit of Maldives Defence Minister Col. (retd.) Mohamed Nazim when India will formally hand over an indigenously made helicopter for surveillance and domain awareness operations in northern Maldives.
India has already gifted Maldives an advanced light helicopter (ALH) for its southern most island Addu. This ALH will be for the northern most inhabited island.
In addition, his visit could also see the gifting of a landing craft to Maldives.
During Mr. Yameen’s first overseas visit after taking over as President, both sides would be signing a package of measures to resume projects that seem to have gone on the backburner after Mohd Nasheed was ousted as President in February last year.
These include the construction of a national police academy, refurbishing of the Indira Gandhi Hospital in Male and setting up a faculty for teaching tourism and hospitality.
Mr. Yameen will be here to chair the convocation ceremony of South Asia University here, as Maldives is currently chairing the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). He will then be holding delegation level talks as well as meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the parameters of cooperation over the next couple of years.
However, Indian corporates that felt they were done in by the previous government are hoping their concerns will also be put up to the Maldives President. Among them is the cancellation of a contract given to GMR, said to be the single biggest foreign investment proposal in Maldives, Tata Housing’s real estate project and Tattva Global’s contract for waste management.
“The initial signs have not been too encouraging,’’ said a spokesperson of one of the corporates, referring to a futile meeting with the Maldives authorities in which Indian High Commission officials from Male had also participated.