President to discuss visa issues, business prospects with India

President Abdulla Yameen has said he will be seeking solutions to the difficulties Maldivians face in getting travel visas to India, and obtaining construction materials during his official visit to the country.

Yameen, however, claimed that the government does not intend to re-establish the contract with the Indian Company GMR to develop the country’s only international airport.

“One of the biggest obstacles faced by Maldivians travelling to India, especially those travelling for medical purposes, as well as students, is the difficulty in getting visa approval. That is something I will discuss during this trip,” Yameen told the press prior to his departure.

“The Foreign Ministry and the Immigration Department has already conducted a lot of work on this manner and we have hopes that there will soon be a solution to this,” said the president.

Yameen will be accompanied by the first lady on the official trip, taken after an invitation from Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee.

“In the context of businesses and general conditions, these are days when the country is facing trouble in getting construction material like building rocks and rock boulders. We have even previously talked about this,” he continued.

Yameen stated that, in addition to his own discussions, the government delegation travelling with him will also be conducting deliberations with their Indian counterparts, adding that he hoped the discussions would pave way for prospects beneficial to the Maldivian people.

He revealed that the main focus of the trip will explore ways in which India can assist in dealing with the difficulties currently faced by the Maldivian business and health sectors.

“Among the agreements, prospects for the health sector is included. Otherwise, we are generally going towards some agreements to seek assistance for the business sector. I believe that through discussions, there are numerous ways in which we can move forward together,” he stated.

“Similar to the Maldives, India too needs some time to make arrangements. Since our requests are large scale, it will take time for them to get approval from their parliament. However, the Indian government’s responses to us are very positive,” Yameen said.

Besides the Indian government, the Maldivian delegation will also be meeting key members of India’s business sector, Yameen said.

Also taking part in these meetings will be the leaders of ruling coalition parties, Gasim Ibrahim -Jumhooree Party – and Ahmed Siyam – Maldives Development Alliance. The two also chair the business groups Villa Enterprises and Sun Travels, respectively.

This is the president’s first official trip abroad since assuming office in November 2013.

Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon, President’s Office Minister Mohamed Hussain Shareef, Health Minister Mariyam Shakeela, Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb, State Minister for Youth and Sports Gassan Maumoon and Foreign Secretary Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed will also be accompanying Yameen.

“No intention to bring back GMR”

Yameen said that the GMR issue is currently in the arbitration stage and has dismissed claims that the government may renew the airport development contract with the company.

“This government does not intend to give the whole airport back to GMR. I do not anticipate that the Indian government will discuss the GMR issue with us, it has not done so before. The GMR issue is not one which concerns the government of India,” Yameen stated.

“The matter is between two companies, albeit the companies being ones important to both governments. Why the airport is important to us is because it is one of the major earning sources for us, and because the company is a 100 percent state owned enterprise. In the same manner, GMR might be important to the current government in power in India,” he explained.

Yameen said representatives from GMR may be present in meetings with the business sector, but denied that the government would be meeting specifically with the company to discuss the airport issue.

“GMR representatives have not even requested to meet them separately. Thus, the GMR matter is not a notable focus in this trip of mine,” he said.

Yameen said that instead of renewing the GMR contract, the government is currently focusing on how the state can pay the compensation fee to the company, and that the matter was being dealt with in the official arbitration.

GMR Chair G M Rao told Indian media last month that he expected the US$1.4 billion wrongful termination claim to be resolved by May.

However, India’s Economic Times has reported that “the Manmohan Singh government will seek the creation of a climate conducive to Indian investment in the Maldives when president Abdulla Yameen arrives in Delhi on January 1 on his maiden visit abroad after being elected head of state.”

“This includes the resolution of disputes relating to GMR’s airport project and the allocation of a site for a Tata housing project,” continued the paper.


10 thoughts on “President to discuss visa issues, business prospects with India”

  1. GMR should not bring back and GMR together with Nasheed had ruin this country for their personal gain.

    GMR themselves know that what they have done to get the airport from Nasheed was not right and they got the airport by paying huge bribe to Nasheed.

    However, Yameen should try to strengthen bilateral relationship which is required by both Maldives and India at this time.

    India can be alienated and India can not afford to lose Maldives to China and US like they have lost Sri Lanka and Bagladheshi and pakistan already from the region.

    Since Yameen is much better leader than Nasheed and I am sure our diplomatic relationship with India will improve for mutual benefit.

  2. Food for thought --
    a) Gayoom expects Indian govt., which is to face elections in few months and is predicted by everyone in India to lose, to make policy changing decision for them?
    b) Gayoom is talking of GMR deal as a "matter between two companies"? What happened to all talks of Maldives nationalism , honour of Islam etc that they were doing when in opposition?
    c) Gayoom is saying - "GMR might be important to the current government in power in India". What a way to insult your host?

  3. @Hero Yameen and his party put Maldivians in this bind in the first place. Now nobody can get visa easily. They were the people who alienated India, and now they want something from India so they're acting all friendly again. Say what you want about Nasheed, the fact is, whatever his faults, he listened to the needs of the people. That's what makes him a better leader; putting the people first.

  4. Once the new government is in plce inIndia...there will be much tougher forign policy..
    all these thrats of chin, sri Lanka & pakistn will not cut with a strong govt inIndia...
    Intresting times ahaed...

  5. Just an addendum -
    The Indian PM did talk about GMR issue, asking to resolve it "amicably". Plus an additional line of credit of USD 25 million (for importing Indian goods).
    You can't escape the albatross once it is around your neck.

  6. This is the same old policy of the 30 golden years. It's always us, us and us. We want so many things from our friends, but we have nothing to give them. Remember, Gayyoom and his non-alignment policy? What did that bring us? Nothing, but misery.

    I listened to Yameen's speech in Delhi that he gave to Maldivians. He repeated the same thing over and over again. His development policy is basically to train hoteliers, clerks, accountants and administrators! He says we don't need to do research. Mathematics, engineering and science is not that important for us. Guess what? There's no developed country in the world that got developed based on such policies.

    And for GMR, India cares not so much about GMR itself, but about the way that company was treated and booted out of the country with wailing Maldivians crying "Islam, Jihad, cow worshippers get out, etc...". India won't forget that kind of shit.

  7. India has one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world.....we need miniscule and insignificant countries like Maldives like we need a dose of syphillis. Noida, a suburb of New Delhi had greater economy than yours.
    India should not have anything to do with neighbouring countries that are not secular or who exploit and mistreat its expat Indian reneging on signed contracts and no confiscating passports. Till the Maldives government takes appropriate action to stop this abuse, the visa section in the Indian embassy should stay closed.
    So glad India has stopped dishing out visas willy nilly to you. The low cost educational and health sectors in India are for Indians only and not for foreigners with whom we have nothing in common......seriously poppets, we idol worshippers have no need of you or your worthless currency.
    As for trade.....what do you export other than tuna?
    Get your building materials, foodstuffs and medicines from your sunni brothers in have so much in common you are like twins separated at birth.

  8. All this kneeling down in front of cow worshippers, sorry India, is because we are bankrupt and there's no one else willing to help us. Remember who was behind that little episode that threw GMR out in the name of Islam and nation? It's the same person now shaking hands with Prime Minster Singh.

    It really is hypocritical to stand in front of Indian businessmen and ask them for their money, when "cow worshippers" were unceremoniously booted out in the name of religion and nation. It's clear that India will not agree to anything this time around unless it benefits India much more than the Maldives, like the 25 million dollar credit line to import Indian goods! Treat Indian workers with respect if we want easy Indian visas. Treat their religion and way of life with respect if we want their money.

  9. Old jungle saying..'u cant clap with one hand'..
    First the boot & then spreading arms out for friendship...
    Very confusing stance being taken by the govt..
    We need a better education system so that we can run our country ourselves...
    Better work culture wherein we also look for better career prospects...
    How long will we keep living on dole from other governments...


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