Transport minister talks Maldives’ SAARC ferry plans

Minister of Transport and Communication, Mohamed Adhil Saleem, has said that he expects the Maldives to be among the first beneficiaries of expanded ferry services between South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member states.

Miadhu reported that Saleem said he expected the Maldives to be included within initial plans to strengthen the regional transport network between different SAARC member states with a ferry service travelling to the country from India and Sri Lanka. According to the news service, Pakistan and Bangladesh are also expected to be included in these regional ferry services at a later date.

Adil Saleem claimed that the services are expected to provide Maldivians with more cost efficient opportunities to transport goods and travel around South Asia in a safe and secure manner.

Ferry services between Sri Lanka and India have been restarted in recent months after a 30 year cessation of the services.  Meanwhile, the expansion of similar regional transport links is expected to play an important part in discussions at this year’s 17th SAARC summit being held in Addu Atoll in November.

Earlier this week, summit organisers said that connectivity – both in physical and diplomatic terms – would be a central theme of the SAARC meeting.