On Sunday, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid thanked India for the financial aid provided to the island nation to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. Expressing his gratitude for India, he spoke in Hindi. Shahid stated, “The whole world is faced with a never-seen-before crisis. We are up against an enemy that we can’t see. We cannot ignore the dangers posed by the enemy.”
Referring to the inconvenience caused due to the spread of the Chinese virus, he emphasised, “This virus has stopped air services in the world. It has forced all countries to make some tough decisions. The pandemic has forced us to shut our homes and our borders. However, our friends have proved, like every time, that the pandemic has not been successful in making them close their hearts. Even in such distressing times, India has proved to be our great friend.”
India has proven time and time again that the Maldives-India partnership will be a high priority! While the whole world has had to close their borders, and their homes, India has proven that #Covid19 will not force them to close their hearts to the Maldivian people. pic.twitter.com/j1AixJ2uxP— Abdulla Shahid (@abdulla_shahid) September 20, 2020
Besides sharing the video snippet of his speech in Hindi, Abdulla Shahid also expressed happiness over the $250 million financial assistance received from India on September 20. He tweeted, “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 government’s immediate financing needs.”
The $250 mil is the largest financial support package announced by a bilateral partner during #Covid19. With the $1.4 billion financial package announced in Dec 2018 &the cash grants for community projects, this is by far the largest single donor assistance Maldives has received pic.twitter.com/1zS7UA07NS— Abdulla Shahid (@abdulla_shahid) September 20, 2020
The Foreign Minister of Maldives further informed that the $250 million package is the largest financial package, announced by any bilateral partner during the pandemic. He further added, “With the $1.4 billion financial package announced in Dec 2018 &the cash grants for community projects, this is by far the largest single donor assistance the Maldives has received.”
India airlifts stranded Maldives nationals
In early February, a special Air India flight evacuated 323 Indian citizens and 7 Maldives citizens from the Wuhan province in China. Foreign Minister of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar for rescuing Maldivians from Coronavirus hit Wuhan province of China. The seven Maldives citizens were kept in Delhi for the quarantine period before being sent back to their country. President of Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih also took to Twitter to thank India for helping evacuate Maldivians stuck in Wuhan.