New Delhi: India and the Maldives on Tuesday signed a number of agreements to push the bilateral partnership to the next level in the field of infrastructure and connectivity.

These agreements were signed during the visit of Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Solih also held a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to an MEA statement, both leaders participated in the virtual "pouring of the first concrete" ceremony of the USD 500 million Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP) being built under the grant and concessional loan support from India.

The GMCP is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken in the Maldives and one of India's largest projects in the neighbourhood. GMCP is 6.74 km in length and will connect Male to Villingli, Gulhifahlu and Thilahfushi. The project will be a major catalyst for the Maldivian economy in the future through jobs and economic activity.

In October 2020, a dedicated Line of Credit of USD 400 million was extended to the Maldives for undertaking the GMCP. The government of India (GoI) is also supporting the project through a special grant of USD 100 million. The project was awarded to AFCONS in August 2021.

The two sides today reviewed the progress on the construction of 4,000 social housing units in Hulhumale being funded under Exim Bank of India Buyer's credit finance of USD 227 million.

Earlier, India's NBCC and JMC concluded EPC contracts with Maldvies' FDC, in February and March 2021 respectively, to finalize construction and design-related aspects of the projects.

The contract for the construction of 2,000 Housing units each was awarded to NBCC and JMC projects at a cost of USD 130 mn and USD 137 million respectively. A total of 2,800 units of 3 bedrooms and 3 toilets, and, 1200 units of 2 bedrooms and 2 toilets are being constructed under the two projects.

The projects are expected to positively impact the economy and aid in the further de-congestion of Male city. Work commenced on both projects in January 2022.

During today's meeting, the two sides also took an overview of India-Maldives development cooperation including Addu roads and reclamation, water and sanitation in 34 islands and Friday Mosque restoration projects.

The 'Addu Development Project - Road Development and Reclamation' is one of the priority projects included under the USD 800 million Line of Credit extended to the Maldives. The project has been split into two packages for its implementation. It is being implemented under the USD 800 million LOC extended to Govt of Maldives.

The 'Roads and Drainage' component of the project scope includes the construction of 40 km of paved roads, 67 km of unpaved roads, 104 km of drainage network and the construction of a 4-lane bypass connecting Hithadhoo island with Maradhoo island - which includes two bridges of 210m and 450m.

Other agreements/MoUs exchanged include an MoU on Capacity Building & Training of Members of Local Councils and Women Development Committee of Maldives between NIRDPR, India and Local Government Authority, Maldives.

An MoU was signed on Collaboration in potential fishing zone forecast capacity building and data sharing and marine scientific research between INCOIS, India and the Ministry of Fisheries, Maldives.

Another MoU was signed for Cooperation in the area of Cyber Security between CERT-India and NCIT, the Maldives for cooperation for exchange of information on Cyber-attacks, prevalent cyber security mechanisms and mutual response to cyber incidents; Cyber security technology cooperation relevant to CERT activities, best practices and setting up of India-Maldives Expert Group.

An MoU was also signed on cooperation in the field of disaster management between NDMA, India and NDMA, Maldives.

This MoU envisages cooperation in the field of disaster management and risk reduction encompassing large-scale disaster incidents occurring within respective territories, emergency relief, response, humanitarian assistance; exchange of information. Cooperation also includes sharing experiences, satellite data and best practices, Tsunami Advisories, Storm Surge, High Wave Alert, Multi-Hazard vulnerability information along coastal zones and annual disaster management exercises that will be held in the different geographic settings of both nations.

One agreement was signed between EXIM Bank, India and the Ministry of Finance, Maldives for USD 41 Mn Buyer's Credit Financing of Police Infrastructure in the Maldives.

Exim Bank has extended a Buyer's Credit facility under the National Export Insurance Account of USD 40.95 Mn to GoM for the design and construction of a Police Station, accommodation, and a custody Facility in the Maldives. This will assist in providing adequate police facilities to ease and ensure the safety of Citizens and tourists, increase the presence of MPS on islands and curtail and help to reduce the crime rate in various atolls and islands in the Maldives.

A Letter of Intent between Exim Bank of India and Ministry of Finance, Maldives on Buyer's Credit funding approval of USD 119 million for additional 2,000 social housing units to be constructed in Hulhumale.

This agreement is towards India Exim Bank extending a credit facility to MoF under India Exim Bank's Buyer's Credit Under National Export Insurance Account program (BC-NEIA) for a credit amount of USD 119.28 mn (85 per cent of the contract value) for Design and Construction of 2000 Social Housing Units in Hulhumale, Maldives.