“India will be at your side”: Dr Manmohan Singh addresses parliament

Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh pledged support at parliament yesterday for the Maldives’ democratic transition through financial assistance and bilateral initiatives for development, becoming the first foreign head of state or government to address the legislative body in its 78-year history.

The Indian Prime Minister was greeted with a ceremonial welcome in Male’ for his first official state visit after the conclusion of the 17th SAARC summit in Addu City on Friday.

“India will be at your side in your transition to a fully functioning democracy,” Singh declared at the special sitting of the People’s Majlis. “We will assist the Majlis by way of training, formulation of rules and regulations and any other assistance that you may desire.”

The Speaker of the Lob Shaba, the lower house of the Indian parliament, is due to visit the Maldives, Singh noted, while the formation of India-Maldives parliamentary friendship groups “augur well for the development of relations between our two parliaments.”

Prior to his historic address before parliament, the Indian Prime Minister signed five agreements under a ‘Framework for Cooperation in Development’ with President Mohamed Nasheed after official bilateral talks at the President’s Office.

“This is a blueprint for cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, food security, fisheries development, tourism, transportation, information technology, new and renewable energy, communications and enhancing connectivity by air and sea,” Singh said in his address.

In addition to a US$40 million line of credit to construct housing units, India extended a credit facility of US$100 million to help the Maldives “meet its short-term budgetary needs” and import essential commodities.

India extended similar financial assistance in December 2008 to plug the fiscal deficit and in the following year subscribed to US$100 million in treasury bonds. The new loan is to be used to settle Rf4.76 billion in T-bill sales sold through the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) by April 30, 2012.

US$30 million of the credit facility was issued on October 31 by the Indian government.

As part of the aid programme, said Singh, India will undertake “a major renovation” to be completed by 2013 of the India Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male’, the main referral hospital in the Maldives.

The Prime Minister noted that Indian companies were engaged in infrastructure projects in the Maldives and wished to “forge closer economic links through banking and financial institutions” and “cooperate in the modernisation of your fishing and food processing industry.”

Among the agreements signed yesterday was the inception of a regular passenger cum cargo ferry service between Cochin and Male’ and the development of a regional port in Kulhudhufushi, the main population hub of the north.

Interlinked security interests

On global warming and climate change, Singh said India understood the threat Maldives faced from rising sea levels and shared its concerns.

“I wish to state in no uncertain terms that India will stand as one with Maldives in combating global warming. Maldives’ views must be heard with respect in global councils,” he said.

“We will help Maldives to achieve its aim of becoming carbon neutral. We will help build your capacities through sharing of energy efficiency technologies and provide scholarships for students from Maldives in areas such as coastal zone adaptation and management.”

On the “extended neighbourhood” of the Indian Ocean and shared security concerns, Singh noted that “over 97 percent of India’s international trade by volume and 75 percent by value passes through the Indian Ocean.”

“The challenges we face are well known – extremism and religious fundamentalism, piracy, smuggling and drug trafficking to name a few. Maldives is additionally concerned about poaching in the coral reefs and illegal commercial fishing by foreign trawlers. We have together experienced the devastation caused by the tsunami in 2004,” Singh observed.

As part of a “multi-pronged approach” to dealing with the problems, India has pledged to support the construction of a police academy in the Maldives while agreements were signed for cooperation in combating terrorism, drug trafficking, disaster management, coastal security, and transfer of sentenced prisoners.

The Indian Prime Minister also congratulated President Nasheed and his administration for “the outstanding manner in which the [SAARC] Summit was organised,” a conference that has helped “further consolidate the process of regional integration in South Asia.”

Singh praised the “impressive strides in nation-building” the Maldives has made since independence in 1965, with the highest socio-economic indicators and progress on Millennium Development Goals in the South Asia region.

“You have chosen the path of democracy, freedom and respect for human rights. You have shown how even a small nation can stand up and be counted in the affairs of the world,” he said.

“I am confident that the people of Maldives will continue to consolidate their achievements. As an abiding friend, India will always stand by you in these efforts. Our relations are time-tested and I wish to reaffirm that they shall remain so in the future.”


17 thoughts on ““India will be at your side”: Dr Manmohan Singh addresses parliament”

  1. So basically our country is still broke and government is still running around finding money while the major political parties all blame each other for what is happening instead of working together to solve problems. The government needs to be careful in the long term to make sure they do not end up being in debt to foreign institutions. Take some lessons from what is happening in the mighty US and its allies such as Greece, Italy and Europe as a whole.

    The current system is still not transparent and even in the political party level, none of the parties has full transparency yet. This is dangerous as in every party there will always be people looking to make a short term profit where the country ends up losing economically, socially and regionally.

    We need to be a country which is solid and strong that we do not go begging to others in the future. There needs to be a clear timetable where people can expect a change and if nothing good comes out, they can ask questions on it publicly.

  2. My sentiments exactly. However short-term is what a lot of the public revels in.

    How to sustain something comes later. How to coordinate development efforts on a national scale, never really is factored in.

    Loan assistance in return for granting India the freedom to secure its maritime interests is hardly a good deal. We really need to change this situation. How do we as a people empower ourselves though. The awareness to correct the lack of planning and direction that plagues successive governments requires lobby groups to pressure governments.

    MATI, MACI, MNCCI could go a long way towards keeping the government in check. A middle-class uprising is required to prevent the lowers classes from being manipulated by mere spectacles and smoke and mirrors.

  3. Singh is an extremist. Look at him!? If a muslim has a beard, turban, etc for minivan news they are extremists or terrorists. Cant you see this guy is a Sik extremist. Be careful.

  4. The main message I get here is that India has been bailing out the Maldives out of its massive debt problems for the past few years. How long will India continue doing this? Moreover, how long can we afford to go on doing this?

    The Maldivian government has run out of money. This last gasp of US$100 million is yet another bailout loan to plug existing loan short falls. We are fast becoming the Greece of South Asia!

    I cannot see much sign of an austeriy programme; public expenditure is increasing month by month. Where will this lead to? A lot of pain and anguish awaits the country further down the road. MDP has totally lost its head.

  5. Mr Singh, your Congress Party has yet failed to give a formal apology to the thousands of Sikhs wo were brutally muerdered and burned alive by the hindus in 1984. You area Sikh yourself but yet has failed to give justice for all those Sikh families who have suffered so much and will remain destroyed for the rest of their lives. Its easy to talk and give advice for others, but its difficult when you have to follow them by yourself. India cannot teach us democracy when you have so many human rights abuses to be solved in your country. The many missing from Kashmir, the Nepali children been trafficked into circuses all over India, the innocent poor civilians suffering in your fight with Maoists, the stateless people of west bengal, the south karnatakians who aren't given the state they demand, the Gujrat muslims who were burnt alive bby your hindus etc etc. I find it amusing how the Maldivian Parliament gave you to give a speech when you have so many horrible things behind you which represent your government and your governance. Its a shame.

  6. @Ziyan
    Stop preaching to our prime minister retard. You should be grateful for the assistance India is giving your country.
    One day the penny will drop and you will realise how small and insignificant and stratigically unimportant you really are. You have the population of a suburb of New Delhi and the economy of a small town in India. Till then dream on...............

  7. @Ziyan
    Let the Indians think about their own country. I feel they are capable of managing it. They are not doing too bad. Let's focus on Maldives and why the heck do we need $100 million just to keep currency floating.

  8. a loan of USD 100 million and India supporting Maldives is a dangerous move. They have their ulterior motives behind this. Maldivians must be aware and careful that its just a matter of time and this country will be run and ruined by Indians.
    Why were they making a huge fuss about China's involvement in Maldives??

  9. maldives is strategically important to india, why else are they interested in this "insignificant little suburb". virendra's sentiment that we are "retards"is precisely what we should be concerned about as this government continues to prostitute our nation tfor its short term goals to india, china, us, israel or whoever. we will soon lose our identity and sovereignity, if it isnt lost for good already.
    "edhumakaa nulaa bayaku vedhumeh nukuraane" dhivehi harubaheh!

  10. Ziyan,

    You maybe a troll, but you're also factually incorrect.

    Prime Minister Singh has actually apologized more than once for the role of the Congress party in the Sikh riots.

    India has plenty to teach about democracy, being one that has survived for over 6 decades despite the mind-boggling diversity of peoples, ethnicities and cultures.

    Unlike say Pakistan or Bangladesh, their democracy has survived despite the illiteracy, poverty and hunger at the time of Independence. Their institutions like the Supreme Courts and the Army are truly independent and have the trust of the public - as their media is remarkably free.

    And the country's economy is healthy, they're a nuclear power, they have achieved self-sufficiency, their universities create hundreds of thousands of engineers and scientists, and their middle class is booming - despite the things you mention.

    The Maldives is none of those things - and thus clearly have quite a bit to learn from India.

  11. @Indira NewDelhi on Mon, 14th Nov 2011 1:18 AM

    "you will realise how small and insignificant and stratigically unimportant you really are"

    How true. if only we Maldivians realize it...

  12. @ Virendra and Indira!
    Mind you we also support the largest expatriate Indian Work Force in proportion to local population of a country. We also dump our dollar money to corrupted education systems in India and are victims of abuse from Indian so called professional medical tourism. In truth what you give to us is peanuts compared to what we give in return.We are strategically important to India and no sooner we affiliate with China, you will see it!We not on;ly dream but we boast a better human rights records and better literacy than India.Even if penny drops we will still get Sterling Pounds and Yuaan.

  13. "becoming the first foreign head of state or government to address the legislative body in its 78-year history".

    Repeated mistake or deliberately trying to change facts?

    Nawaz Sharif was the first Head of State to address the Maldivian Parliament.

  14. What's Singh doing addressing a motley crew gathered in a Pakistan-built shed?

  15. As an Indian, I feel cheated. If my Tax money is given to support Maldieves and they are thankless. Or if the people of Maldieves do not want our money, then why should we pay anyways. Why bother the heart burn.

    The help we give them is so small that it doesn't even needs Parliament's nod and yet it is counter productive to our image.

    About Indian diaspora in Maldieves. Isn't it true that only skilled workers migrate because Maldieves itself does not produce enough technical graduates. Also in semi skilled and unskilled levels, the diaspora is small but comes only when there is no local work force available.

    People here have also criticized our PM. He is a person of great eminence. I myself do not agree with him on many issues but then it is my right to do so as an Indian Citizen. As Maldieves Citizen you guys have no locu standi on the issue.

    Next time oppose Indian help in you Parliament. Do not welcome Dr Singh. Sure go to China for help, I am sure unlike India they will help you for free. Better still ask the pakis for help. But spare us the heart burns.

  16. @himmi:

    This response needs a bit of melodrama so here I go.

    How dare you, you (pretend) foreigner!!

    We never asked our President to run around helter-skelter accepting handouts and scraps so that the (pretend) citizens of a country could insult us on online comment forums.

    Oh woe is us. How will we survive the shame of being derogated to beggars by our (pretend) neighbors.

    I shall (pretend) submit a petition to the President as soon as possible to withdraw our acceptance of the terms on which the agreement reached with your (pretend) country was reached.

    At least I am not a pretend Maldivian and I, unlike the puppetmasters of Minivan who allow the writers to systematically denigrate our country and our people, am proud of my lineage. Unlike misguided youths such as Yaamyn, I have been around the world and never felt more at home than in my own country where I receive a status which I would never get anywhere else.

  17. tsk tsk , your are right. Minivan is a propaganda Machine against Maldives and Maldivians. Funded and sponsered by Athiests, Cruseders, Satanists and Homosexuals. Now they want spoil our relatioship with India.


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