“No choice” but to wait, Maldivians facing overnight queue for India medical visas

Maldivian citizens queuing outside the Indian High Commission in Male’ to obtain visas to travel for medical treatment in India have allegedly been told they must now wait until December 26 before any further paperwork can be processed.

This morning (December 24) individuals waiting outside the Indian High Commission building told Minivan News that they have “no choice” but continue to wait, after it was allegedly announced that no visas will be processed on December 25.

Earlier this month, the High Commission of India forewarned Maldivians that it would now take one week to process visas required to travel to India.

At 2:00am this morning (December 24),  Minivan News witnessed at least 30 Maldivians queued in the rain, waiting for the Indian High Commission building to open.

Male’ inhabitant Ihusaan Jaufar claimed he had been waiting for three days to pick up a medical visa so that an ill family member could receive treatment in India.

“We have been doing shifts so that we do not lose our place in the queue. Before we would make trips to India maybe ten times per year and it was easy, now it has become very difficult.

“They allow 53 passports to be processed each day, but some people are carrying four passports including their own, so rather than 53 people who have queued getting their visas, instead maybe only 10 or 12 are receiving their visas,” Jaufar said.

Maldivian nationals do not require a visa to enter India and stay for 90 days, however they are prohibited from revisiting the country within two months. Patients who need to return to India for health reasons then have to apply for a medical visa.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised Maldivians to try to obtain the relevant visas prior to their travel, after the Indian High Commission announced that visa-free travel facilities to India are valid for tourism purposes only.

Travel for medical, business or official reasons will require a relevant visa for those purposes, the Indian High Commission has stated.

At 10:30am today (December 24) the 30-strong queue still remained, however some within the queue had alleged they has been told by Indian High Commissioner D M Mulay that they would now have to wait until December 26 for their visas.  The high commission has denied any such claims were made.

Ahmed Didi, a Maldivian waiting in the queue today spoke of his frustration and concern for his family currently living in India.

“I have been waiting to get home for over a week and i’ve been in this queue for the last three days. I’m going to have to ask my friends if we can do shifts in queue so that we do not lose our place. It’s [the queue] going to be huge after 48 hours.

“It is frustrating as I need to get home. My wife is currently looking after my 74-year-old father who is paralysed and my son. She is struggling to cope without me there to help,” Didi said.

According to Didi, the High Commission is issuing tokens to people who can then have their visas processed. Didi claimed that for the last three days only 40 tokens have been issued per day, however this has now been increased to 53.

“The problem is that some people in the queue are holding multiple passports for friends and family. Fortunately the [Indian High] Commission has limited the number of passports per person to just three,” he said.

Didi claimed that earlier in the morning, Mulay had announced to the queue that he was working to resolve the issue and that it came down to a lack of cooperation from the Maldives government.

A source from within the Indian High Commission denied these claims, adding that “no such comment had been made”.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ibrahim Muaz Ali also denied allegations of conflict between the government and the Indian High Commission, stating that the foreign ministry was doing its best to help those waiting for a visa.

“There is no lack of cooperation between the Indian High Commission and the Foreign Ministry, we are having regular meetings to discuss the [visa] issue.

“We have a separate desk within the Indian High Commission building that is helping to deal with Maldivian citizens looking to obtain visas,” Muaz said. “We are trying to prioritise based on medical needs. For example, yesterday we had a man come through who needed urgent treatment for cancer and we were able to speak with the Commission to have his medical visa processed quicker.”

Despite the claims, Former President Mohamed Nasheed has alleged in local media today that the current approvals required for medical travel to India were a direct response to the Maldives government’s decision to terminate a sovereign agreement to develop Irahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).

India-based infrastructure group GMR had signed an agreement with Nasheed’s government back in 2010 to develop and manage INIA over a 25-year period. The government of Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik opted late last month to declare the agreement void and gave the developer seven days to leave the country.

Visitor numbers

Times of India (TOI) reported that a total of 54,956 Maldivians visited the country in 2008, 55,159 in 2009 and 58,152 in 2010.

S Premkumar, Chief Exective Officer of  (CEO) Apollo Hospitals – a major hospital chain based in Chennai –  was quoted in the TOI as claiming that  some 300 Maldivian nationals were treated in Chennai hospitals each year. “They usually come for neurosurgery, and orthopaedic, cardiology and robotic gyneacology procedures,” he told the publication.

On December 20, First Secretary of the High Comission S C Agarwal, told local media that the change in procedure was not new, adding that there had only been a change in the “interpretation” of the agreement signed between India and Maldives in 1979.

“The agreement that grants 90 days free visa for Indians and Maldivians came into effect in 1979. But we have been really flexible in the interpretation of the agreement.

“We have not been questioning the purpose of travel of Maldivians to India. But unfortunately the reverse is not true. The Maldivian authorities have enforced the agreement in the strictest of terms. Nearly 50 Indians are denied entry, detained and deported every year,” Agarwal was quoted as saying in newspaper Haveeru.

Agarwal told local media that India has now “agreed” with the interpretation of the 1979 agreement in accordance to that of the Maldives government.

“We have been flexible in implementing the agreement since 1979. Such flexibility has not been reciprocated by Maldives,” he added.


19 thoughts on ““No choice” but to wait, Maldivians facing overnight queue for India medical visas”

  1. Why would some one go to India anyway, when there is Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

    Dumb Maldivains - they deserve the harassment from India.

  2. these issues were created by Nasheed and Shahid to give a threatening message to public with hope that people of Maldives will ask to bring back GMR.

    I doubt that majority of Maldivian will opt to bring back the GMR in order to ease the visa procedure.

  3. This is great news!! The Indian government should shut down the embassy and stop issuing visas to Maldivians.......medical, tourist or business.
    You dumb morons should have thought of this when you ILLEGALLY terminated GMR's contract.
    Please form an orderly queue outside the chinese embassy...........the medical facilities in Shanghai are first rate I hear.

  4. @MissIndia NewDelhi on Mon, 24th Dec 2012 10:03 PM

    "Please form an orderly queue outside the chinese embassy………..the medical facilities in Shanghai are first rate I hear."

    Indeed, couldn't agree more! I hear tiger penis is a rather good cure for most illnesses.

    Anyway, this reaction from India was the least that Maldesh could have expected. I'm sure there's plenty more to come. Maldesh, which is quickly becoming a village outside Daka, have no leg to stand on!

  5. India, by doing what they are doing now have unwittingly done a great favour to SriLanka as now most Maldivians have started to visit Sri Lanka for medical reasons. Very soon India shall regret the decision for harrasing us Maldivians.

  6. @Hussain Manik

    Like it or not, the medical facilities and services in India are far superior and cheaper than what is available in Sri Lanka. So nope I don't think that Sri Lanka can be a substitute to India. Maybe for minor and short term illnesses, but not for major surgeries and diagnostics.

    It's sad that some of us still act like we can do without the cooperation and support of one of our closest neighbours. We don't have to choose between India and China, we are too small a nation to play that game and a pity that our politicians and so many people still don't get it!

  7. Dumb, mody, Hussain Manik -

    You must get it through your thick skulls that in the grand scale of things, Maldives and the minuscule number of Maldivian people are a drop of water to a behemoth swimming pool, which is India.

    They can do a lot less bi lateral ties with their "loss" being a minor niggle while ours being nothing short of disaster.

    The only thing we Maldivians beat Indians at are in arrogance and a proclivity for self defeat.Thank God we are irrelevant, or else the religion thumping nut-cases would have drowned us by now.

  8. As PPM MP Ilham said Chinese rice is more delicious, as they were preparing to bring on the coup. Sorry India, due to the power hungry cronies of Gayoom and co our bilateral relation has to suffer.

  9. Spin masters for Golhaa and Baaghee, may not have any need for India! They can think they now have a China!

    Let them gamble!

    However, the reality is far more complex and too grave even to think or even joke!

  10. NO matter what India does to this country, we will not bring back GMR to manage the airport.

    GMR can request the money that GMR had paid to Nasheed under the table and go back relax ij India.

    GMR is one of the biggest corrupted company in India and there are on going court cases in India still against the corruption.

    If India want to punish Maldives because of GMR, then let it be. The country is not going to collapse because India do not want to help. But this nations was not created because of the India and the people were not inhabitant because of India and we will survive.

    However, India is very close partner for the development of our country , Maldives and anything which harm our bilateral relationships is going to affect the country.

  11. You guys seriously need a reality check.........with the tenth largest GDP in the world and a booming economy do we Indians need the insignificant amount of revenue generated by medical tourism, students and businessmen from small insignificant countries such as yours?...........NOT!!...........you have the population and economy of a suburb of New Delhi.
    The Indian government has always allowed you access to its low cost health and educational sectors for reasons of goodwill only............but with the anti Indian stance of the people of Maldives, this must now be stopped and as far as I am concerned you can all go to Jahunnum.
    Why don't you people leave us cow worshippers alone and go to Pakistan instead for medical treatment and for education.......great madrasas there!!
    Better still, import your drugs.......and I mean medicines and not narcotics..........foodstuffs and building materials too from Pakistan.
    Please form an orderly queue outside the chinese embassy.........or Sri Lankan embassy........or Malaysian embassy........or Somali embassy ........or Saudi embassy........or North Korean embassy........just leave us Indians alone!!

  12. perhaps the maldives goverment wants it people to visit china ,airlines ticket prices may be high and a funny language to speak and understand,the sick can have acupuncture,Chinese modern medicine and herbal treatment,the by standers can savor the skyscrapers delights of Beijing and shanghai,hitch a ride on the magnetic bullet trains,try out Chinese cuisine like peking duck but beware of Chinese sweet and sour pork,and pep up their spirits with the local Baijiu upon their return they can bring back iphone ,ipad,nike(at prices higher than us,singapore or uae due to chinese tax) and melamine milk powder

  13. On the visa issue india is 100 percent right,after all these aren't maldives centric issues, these measures were put in place after the mumbai attacks,india has a right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks and misuse of it hospitality laws by terrorist sympathizers,the really sick should be given some consideration,but having said that 10 bystanders to a sick patient can arouse suspicions and also the general Islamist mood and inflammatory and derogatory talk emitting from male, and let and presence of maldivian jihadi elements and suicide bombers in Afghanistan is not helping matters

  14. i m doctor working here as a medical officer.my anual leave was due on oct this yeat but i couldnot fly coz my visacard is not ready.since then i m trying to get my visacard but no luck.indian high com.is given only seven days time they should take atleast one month for visa process ,so that these pppl can feel the same pain what we are feeling here.my lifes biggest mistake was i chose this country for work.god knows better whn i will fly back to home.once reaching home will never ever think of returning back.

  15. he he he ..sooper India give soooper medical treatment..this is why the recent Delhi rape victim was sent to Singapore hospital....better maldivians avoid this sooper India because of rapists and Indian open air s&*ting will give you more diseases.60% Indian s&*t in public accrding to their own minister

  16. all over the world these sooper Indian Consulates treat foreginers like this...these jokers think that foreigners will stay in their paradise.Sooper India is the most poorest and illiterate and unhygenic country in the world..maldivians be careful....

  17. Yes as above poster said please avoid India and go to Pakistan and China, we are sick of giving free hand-outs only ti get stabbed in the back. Paki must be a paradise according to Kurvi, please go there.

  18. In most countries, foreigners have to pay more than the locals for any treatment, education etc. Just wondering if this is the case in india. India is very flexible and friendly with her neighbours like maldives and srilanka, but some people in these countries takes it for granted and just keep harping based on their personal envy & hate.


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