10:07 GMT +326 May 2019
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    Male, the capital of Maldives

    India Announces $1.4 Billion Soft Loan to Maldives’ Ailing Economy

    CC BY-SA 3.0 / Shahee Ilyas / Malé, capital of Maldives
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    The $1.4 billion package is aimed mostly at taking care of the immediate budgetary requirements of the Maldives. The current dispensation in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation claims that the country owes a huge debt to China, the volume of which is yet to be ascertained, due to which the economy is under unprecedented strain.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Responding to the Maldives' "India first" policy, India has announced a $1.4 billion package for the Indian Ocean island nation. The assistance package was announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of the visit of President Ibrahim Solih of the Maldives.

    The package is in addition to a loan of $25 million that India gave during a visit by Maldives' new Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid last month.  The new dispensation in the Maldives claims that the country owes an "unspecified" amount of debt to China in lieu of the Chinese infrastructure projects undertaken during the last 5 years by the government which was overthrown by Solih in democratic elections in November.

    READ MORE: Maldives Seeks Indian Assistance in the Face of Mammoth Chinese Debt

    "The amount of debt owed by the Maldives to China is still not ascertained and it remains unspecified. The last government lacked transparency and our officers are trying to arrive upon the figure", Maldives Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid told Sputnik during his Delhi visit.

    It was during the course of Foreign Minister Shahid's visit that the Maldives announced its "India first policy while engaging everyone in its development process".

    Meanwhile, India and the Maldives have signed four pacts, including one about easy visa facilitation between the two countries.

    READ MORE: Maldives Prioritises Facilitating Trade, Investment in Country — Minister

    Solih arrived in India on Sunday in his first foreign tour after swearing-in last month. He won the election in September backed by a combined opposition against the then President Abdulla Yameen.

    During Yameen's time in office, the India-Maldives relationship nose-dived with most of the infrastructure projects going to China-backed companies. Moreover, the Yameen government insisted that India withdraw its military helicopters and personnel posted in the country. With the Solih government coming to power, the military relations have been reinstated.

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    Tags:
    bilateral assistance, debts, new government, loan, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Narendra Modi, India, Maldives
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