The Indian government has provided grant aid worth MVR14.8 million (US$960,000) to build an international convention centre on Alif Alif Ukulhas island and finance projects at a police academy training school on Dhaalu Vaanee island.
The MVR7.8 million convention centre on Ukulhas would “provide a venue for the local council, guest house owners and business communities to host conferences thereby promoting MICE [meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions] tourism,” the foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
It noted the lack of such facilities outside the capital.
The Equatorial Convention Centre built in Addu City for the 2011 SAARC summit is in the process of being converted to a 100-bed hospital. Last year, the Maldivian Democratic Party held its congress in Ukulhas after the government refused to lease the convention centre in Malé.
The grant assistance was part of MVR100 million pledged for “high impact community development projects through local bodies” during the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in March.
An agreement for a US$800 million line of credit to finance the new administration’s infrastructure projects was also signed during her trip.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s maiden visit to India weeks after assuming office last November was hailed as the beginning of a “new era” of relations after historically close ties were strained under the pro-China former administration.
India has since quadrupled its annual aid to the Maldives and exempted exports of essential commodities from any form of domestic restrictions.