India has announced its support for the largest infrastructure project of Maldives –the Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP) –to connect four major islands in the country through bridges.
India will provide funding of US $500 million for the project which will increase connectivity in the country. The US $500 financial package consists of a grant of US $100 million and a new Line of Credit (LOC) of US $400 million.
The announcement came after the virtual meet between External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.
The project was a key election promise of the ruling MDP Maldivian Democratic Party and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had personally sought India’s assistance for the project.
The project will connect capital Malé with Villingili, Thilafushi, and Gulhifalhu via bridges and causeways of the total length of 6.695 kilometers. Out of the total length, the bridge-section will be 2.08 km, 780 m causeway section, and 3.87 Km embankment and causeway section.
Villingili is near Capital Male, Thilafushi is an artificial island created as a municipal landfill and a new industrial zone and Gulhifalhu will be further developed into an industrial location. The landmark project, once completed, will streamline connectivity between four islands, thereby boosting economic activity, generating employment, and promoting holistic urban development in the Malé region.
As of now, 1.39 km Maldives-China Friendship bridge connecting Malé with Hulhule and Hulhumale to its east has been the most visible infra-project of the country but the new mega financed projected will dwarft it once completed.
In Gulhifahu, which is a part of Greater Malé Connectivity Project, a port is being developed under India’s LoC worth $800 million. Under Indian Line of Credit, several projects are already in construction including water supply and sewerage systems on 34 Island, Hanimadhoo International Airport Redevelopment, Construction of International cricket stadium in Hulhumale, Cancer hospital in Hulhumale spanning the country’s geography from the northernmost to the southernmost islands of Maldives.