PM talks about GMR project;extends USD 25mn credit to Maldives

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asked newly-elected Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen to address the problems faced by some Indian investors and "amicably" settle the issue of Male International Airport, a GMR project worth over USD 500 million scrapped by Maldivian government unilaterally.

Singh also announced, after his comprehensive talks with Yameen on key issues including defence, security and economic cooperation, that a standby credit facility of USD 25 million was being extended to Maldives for imports from India.

Yameen, who is here on his first foreign visit after assuming office, said India has always been supporting Maldives and it was his "resolve" to maintain the relationship. In an apparent reference to GMR-Male airport matter, the President said, the issues will be resolved in a "broad sense".

At a joint press event with Yameen, Singh said India and Maldives "share very vital interests" and "Yameen and I agreed that our cooperation is indispensable for the maritime security of our two countries and essential for promoting peace, prosperity and security in the Indian Ocean Region".

The Prime Minister also said he would like to see a more balanced growth in bilateral trade as increase in Indian investments in Maldives would also contribute to expansion of economic relations.

"In this context, I requested President Yameen to amicably settle the issue of Male International Airport and address the problems that some of our investors are facing," Singh said.

In 2012, Maldives had cancelled its biggest foreign investment project, a USD 511 million deal with Indian firm GMR Group to develop its international airport, raising questions over the future of Indian investment in the islands. Currently the case is in arbitration.
Singh also said, "as part of immediate measures, India is extending a standby credit facility of 25 million US dollars to Maldives for imports from India.

"We have also agreed to meet the requirements of petroleum products in Maldives and have asked our agencies to work out the best possible terms and arrangements."

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