A contract on a connectivity project has been signed by the Maldives government worth $500 million, sponsored by India.

27th Aug,2021

A contract on a connectivity project has been signed by the Maldives government worth $500 million, sponsored by India.


The GMCP was designed as a lifeline for the Maldives' economy, linking the capital to a new international port planned for Gulhifalhu and an industrial zone planned for Thilafushi. On Thursday, the Maldives government and an Indian construction firm inked a deal for the $500 million Greater Malé Connectivity Project (GMCP), the largest infrastructure project in the Indian Ocean archipelago, which is being sponsored by New Delhi. Malé's capital will be connected to the islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu, and Thilafushi by a 6.74-kilometer bridge and causeway. It will improve connection between the four islands that account for over half of the Maldivian population, thanks to a $100 million grant and a $400 million line of credit from India. When External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Malé in September 2019, Maldives President Ibrahim Solih and Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid requested India's support for the project. The GMCP was designed as a lifeline for the Maldives' economy, linking the capital to a new international port planned for Gulhifalhu, which is also backed by an Indian line of credit, and an industrial zone at Thilafushi. Infrastructure consultants Arup Ltd of Hong Kong developed the comprehensive project study, and the project will be built by Mumbai-based Afcons Infrastructure Limited. Three navigation bridges, each with a primary span of 140 metres spanning the deep strait between the islands, 3.73 kilometres of marine viaduct, and 2.96 kilometres of roadways are part of the project. Solar panels will be put atop lamp posts and along the bridge parapets to provide lighting for the project. The Maldives has benefited greatly from India's "Neighbourhood First" strategy, particularly since Solih took office in November 2018 and pushed the country away from his predecessor's pro-China stance of his predecessor, Abdulla Yameen. During Solih's first visit to New Delhi in December 2018, India offered a $1.4 billion economic package, including a $800 million line of credit for projects including airport expansions in Hanimadhoo and Gan, roads in Addu, and fisheries growth in Hulhumalé. When finished, the GMCP would dwarf the 1.4-kilometer Sinamalé Bridge, which connects Malé and Hulhule and Hulhumalé and was completed in 2018.