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Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP)

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Context:

Maldives government has officially signed an agreement with Mumbai-based company AFCONS, for the construction of the Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP).

 

Background:

The seeds of the project were planted during India’s External Affairs Minister’s visit to Malé in September 2019.

 

About the project:

  • This infrastructure project is the largest-ever by India in the Maldives.
  • It involves the construction of a 6.74-km-long bridge and causeway link that will connect the Maldives capital Malé with the neighbouring islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.
  • This project was funded by India in a grant of $100 million, with a line of credit of $400 million.

current affairs

 

Why were these islands chosen?

In the island of Gulhifalhu, a port is at present being built under the Indian line of credit. Located some 6 kilometers from Malé, since 2016, the island has been promoted by the Maldives government as a strategic location for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facilities due to its proximity to the capital city.

Island of Thilafushi: Located 7 km from the capital, the artificial island of Thilafushi was created and designated as a landfill in the early 1990s, to receive garbage created mostly in Malé.

 

Significance of the project:

The GMCP is not only the biggest project India is doing in the Maldives but also the biggest infrastructure project in the Maldives overall.

  • This project is significant because it facilitates inter-island connectivity in the country.
  • Also, the GMCP is concrete proof that India is a robust development partner of the Maldives in addition to being the First Responder in times of any emergency in the Maldives.

 

Need for this project:

Transport is a major challenge for residents who have to take boats or seaplanes to distant islands. Locals take ferries or boats. It becomes even more difficult during the monsoons when the seas are rough. This bridge that would connect Malé with the three neighbouring islands would ease the process.

 

What is Line of Credit (LOC)?

  • The Line of Credit is not a grant but a ‘soft loan’ provided on concessional interest rates to developing countries, which has to be repaid by the borrowing government.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the Sinamalé Bridge built by China in Maldives? Read here.

Sources: Indian Express.