Remarks by His Excellency Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the MoU Signing Ceremony for 7 Projects under HICDP Scheme 18 April 2022
Distinguished Cabinet Ministers, Distinguished Members of the Parliament, High Commissioner of India to the Maldives, His Excellency Manu Mahawar Representatives from the President’s Office, Government Agencies, and Island Councils.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It was just a few weeks ago, Minister of External Affairs of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar in his visit to the Maldives announced these 7 new projects - a total grant of 26.8 million Rufiya (MVR 26,802,328) (equivalent to approximately 1.7 million USD) to be implemented under the High Impact Community Development Project Scheme. It was one of the best outcomes and a key highlight of Minister Dr. Jaishankar’s visit to the Maldives. We were delighted by this announcement – yet another milestone achieved in our development partnership.
High Impact Community Development Projects constitute an important dimension of the dynamic development partnership between the Maldives and India. Empowering people at community level is a vision shared by the Maldives and India. The financial and development assistance provided by the Government of India has gone a long way in delivering His Excellency President Solih’s development pledges to our islands. From the seven projects launched today, three of them attribute to the betterment of health sector, while two are targeted at youth empowerment and one for sports development. We also signed a project focused on preservation and protection of our rich culture and heritage – all of them will have a positive impact in improving the quality of life of Island communities. These projects will also give renewed impetus to the efforts of the Island Councils in ensuring the social well-being.
Establishing a mental health centre at Addu Equatorial Hospital, a speech therapy unit at Kulhudhuffushi Regional Hospital, prosthetics and orthotics manufacturing workshop at Hulhumale’ Hospital will immensely contribute to strengthen the much-needed health facilities in these regions. India’s assistance to the Maldives health sector is abundant. This was evident even during the pandemic, and here I note the donation of vaccines by India was a pivotal moment on our path to recovery.
In the same vein, development of a multi-sports complex at Noonu. Manadhoo is another step towards providing our youth with opportunities to be trained at an international standard multi-sporting complex and host national and international tournaments. Also, the establishment of youth centres at Alifu Dhaalu. Dhigurah and Gaafu Alifu. Gemanafushi will provide an opportunity to develop a culture of physical wellbeing while maintaining an active lifestyle through a vibrant facility.
I am also thrilled by the projects on preservation of cultural places. The Thaa. Dhiyamigili Ganduvaru restoration project would preserve the Palace attributed to the founder of the fifth royal dynasty to rule over the Maldives – the ‘Dhiyamigili Dynasty’ and the site museums in Noonu. Landhoo Maabudhuge area would showcase the strong and beautiful culture of Maldives for generations to come.
These seven key projects signed today, along with the ongoing eighteen projects and two which were inaugurated last month under the High Impact Community Development Project Scheme stands as testimony to the Government’s strong commitment to strengthen decentralisation efforts across the Atolls of Maldives. I thank His Excellency President Solih, for his guidance and for his vision for a prosperous future for our communities.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
India has been an instrumental partner in our development trajectory. I take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to the Government of India for their continuous support and valuable contribution towards our development. The assistance through grants and lines of credit, unquestionably are few of many examples of how socio-economic cooperation is contributing to the momentum of the development of our relations.
Throughout the last five decades, Maldives-India relations have reached new heights and India has become our closest development partner and a friend that we can rely on all times. The leadership of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has steered the Maldives-India partnership into a new era – one that has been characterized by prosperity, development and mutual benefit for our countries.
Ours is a relationship of people, one that remains unhindered by time and predates formalities. May our long-lasting friendship continue to prosper in the coming years as well.