Indian visa restrictions lifted

Indian High Commissioner Rajeev Shahare has announced that all visa restrictions on Maldivians travelling to India have been lifted.

Local media reported Shahare as saying that Maldivians could now get a 90-day visa for medical visits to India.

“This is a very very privileged aspect of visa, we have not granted to any other country. Other nationals are required to have a cooling-off period of two months. Maldivians will not have, because this is a very privileged, special relationship that we have between India and Maldives,” he said.

Coming at the end of a week-long celebration of Indian-Maldivian ties, the move represents a further thawing of relations that had become strained under the previous administration.

Visa regulations were tightened just weeks after the premature termination of a US$500 million airport development deal with Indian infrastructure giant GMR. Indian authorities at the time claimed the decision to have been intended to draw attention to the Maldives’ treatment of expatriate workers.

In an interview with Haveeru yesterday, Attorney General Mohamed Anil suggested the government had a strong case in the arbitration proceedings that have followed GMR’s expulsion.

Following an official state visit to Indian earlier this month, President Abdulla Yameen and Indian leaders were reported to have discussed the potential of reaching an out of court settlement.