India extends USD 250 mn loan to Maldives to deal with Covid-19 economic impact

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid (Photo/ANI)

Male [Maldives], September 20 (ANI): India has extended a USD 250 million loan to the Maldives government to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19.
"USD 250 million assistance provided to the Maldives by India, as budgetary and revenue support for mitigating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Maldivian economy. Under this, the SBI will subscribe to a Treasury Bond issued by the Government of Maldives with a comfortable 10-year tenor," the High Commission of India in the Maldives said on Sunday.
The loan was handed over at a ceremony here in the presence of Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer, Indian High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir and CEO of SBI in Male, Bharat Mishra.
The loan has been extended in response to the request made by Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for financial assistance and was announced after the virtual meeting between External Affairs minister S Jaishankar and Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid earlier this year.
Foreign Minister of Maldives Abdulla Shahid thanked India for the financial assistance and speaking in Hindi termed India as a "Mahan mitra" of the Maldives during the tough times caused by the pandemic.
"Today the whole world is currently fighting a battle that it has never faced before -- an enemy that we can't see, a danger that cannot be taken lightly and a virus that has brought the air travel (havai sewao) to a halt and forced countries to take tough decisions. This epidemic has forced many to close their borders and their homes," Shahid said in a video.
"But our 'mitro' -- like always -- have proven that this epidemic cannot force them to close their hearts. India during these tough times has been a 'mahan mitra (a great friend)'," he added in the video.
The Maldives foreign minister further took to Twitter India to express is gratitude towards the government of India for the Financial aid.
"Grateful to receive the USD 250 million financial assistance from India to the Maldives today. The financial assistance provided through subscription in GoM Domestic Treasury Bonds by SBI will support the financing of the revenue gap, and meet the Gov's immediate financing needs," the Maldivian foreign minister tweeted.
He added that the financial assistance is "the largest financial support package" announced by a bilateral partner during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the USD1.4 billion financial package announced in December 2018 and the cash grants for community projects, this is by far the largest single donor assistance the Maldives has received" Shahid said.
As per the latest updates by Johns Hopkins University, the Maldives has 9,649 COVID-19 cases and 33 deaths due to the pathogen. (ANI)