By Yoshita Singh
UNITED NATIONS: The Maldives has thanked India for the financial assistance of USD 250 million — “the single largest financial assistance from a donor” — to support the island nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of global cooperation. In the Maldives, without the support of our friends, our bilateral and multilateral partners, we would not be able to continue weathering this storm, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives Abdulla Shahid said in his address to the General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
“I thank all our partners who have generously extended financial, material and technical support during this crisis, even when they themselves are going through challenging times. One such example is India. The recent budget support of 250 million US dollars, was the single largest financial assistance from a donor during this pandemic,” he said.
The minister said as nations work towards finding a vaccine, Maldives hopes that every person who needs it will have access to it. That we will work together to ensure equitable access.
This month, India provided the financial assistance of USD 250 million to Maldives to help it mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian embassy in Maldives had said in a statement.
The grant, provided under the most favourable terms possible, was in response to the request made by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to overcome the difficult economic situation in the Maldives.
The financial assistance was announced first during a virtual meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and provided through a Treasury Bond sale to the State Bank of India (SBI), Male which has a tenure of 10 years for repayment, the statement said.
According to the statement, the India-Maldives partnership is unique and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted this.
India will continue to stand by the people and government of Maldives during these diffAicult times, the embassy said. The USD 250 million budgetary support showcases the resilience and reliability of the India-Maldives relationship. India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and the Maldives’ ‘India First’ policy have worked in tandem during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard the well-being of both peoples.
India had provided substantial and continued assistance to the Maldives during the COVID-19 pandemic. A team of doctors and specialists visited the Maldives in March to assist in COVID-19 preparedness.
A consignment of 5.5 tonnes of essential medicines was donated in April, another consignment of 6.2 tonnes of medicines was airlifted from four Indian cities to Male by the Indian Air Force, and 580 tonnes of food aid was provided in May.
Source: Press Trust of India