The bilateral relations between India and Maldives have been on an uptick ever since the downfall of Xi Jinping’s lackey Abdullah Yameen. While India has adopted “Neighbourhood First” policy , Maldives has adopted “India First” policy, which has led to the bilateral relations between the two countries reach a historic high. Now, at the United Nations Genera Assembly, Maldives thanked the Indian government for its $250 million support amidst the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
Abdulla Shahid, the Foreign Minister of Maldives, during his address to the General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) publicly thanked India for its financial assistance of $250 million as he labelled the help as “the single largest financial assistance from a donor.”
“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,” said Shahid.
He added, “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.”
Shahid then went on to praise India as he said, “The recent budget support of 250 million US dollars, was the single largest financial assistance from a donor during this pandemic.”
The financial assistance was extended by the Modi government earlier in September to help Maldives mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The grant came after Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help out the island country from its difficult economic situation.
Unlike China, which believes in debt-trap diplomacy, India has extended its grant under the most favourable terms possible with a 10 year repayment tenure.
India’s help to Maldives amidst the pandemic has not just been limited to financial assistance as earlier in March, India sent a team of doctors and specialists to Maldives to help the island country prepare for the pandemic.
India also donated a consignment of 5.5 tonnes of essential medicines in April, with another consignment of 6.2 tonnes of medicines was airlifted from four Indian cities to Male with the help of the Indian Airforce. In May, India also provided 580 tonnes of food aid to Maldives.
Maldives took a decidedly pro-China stance under the dictatorial rule of Abdullah Yameen, however, with the fall of Yameen, the island nation has drifted increasingly closer to India. On multiple occasions, Maldives has thwarted Pakistan’s anti-India resolutions at the Organisation of Islamic countries. The pandemic has only brought the two natural allies closer than ever.