USA welcomes India's USD 1.4 billion assistance to Maldives

[TamilNet, Thursday, 20 December 2018, 23:34 GMT]
The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, David Ranz, has welcomed the latest announcement by Indian PM Narendra Modi that New Delhi would be assisting Malé with USD 1.4 billion in financial assistance. Mr Ranz recently visited the Maldives announcing USD 7 million in “foreign military financing” to maritime security and another USD 3 million for civil society and environment. Geopolitical observers interpret the Indian mega assistance as a move to bail out the archipelago nation struggling under Chinese debt burden and transform it as a strategic asset for the Quad formation.

“India shares our view of Maldives' critical role in the security of the Indo-Pacific and the importance of offering support during this transition period,” a report filed by the New Delhi based news agency Asian News International (ANI), was citing Ranz as saying on Thursday.

“Maldives occupies a very important geostrategic position in the Indo-Pacific given the volume of trade that transits through the sea lanes it sits astride. With its recent return to a democratic path, we see the Maldives as a country that can tap the initiatives we are rolling out across the Indo-Pacific and become a valuable partner in realizing a secure, strong, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” Ranz was quoted as saying.

The Press Trust of India also filed a story quoting Ranz as saying: “With its recent return to a democratic path, we see Maldives as a country that can tap the initiatives are rolling out across the Indo-Pacific and become a valuable partner in realizing a secure, strong, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.”

Earlier, on 23 November, a news report by the Reuters cited ex-president Mohamed Nasheed, an advisor to the new president Mohamed Ibrahim Solih, as claiming that the Chinese ambassador to the Maldives Zhang Lizhong had issued an invoice for USD 3.2 billion.

Chinese officials, refuting Nasheed's claim had stated that the debt was closer to USD 1.5 billion, according to the same Reuters story.

Nasheed was making the debt claim on November 01 when he returned home after living in exile between London and Colombo for more than 30 months.

The newly elected president Solih is yet to find out the exact sum of the debt, local news reports in Malé said.


External Links:
Reuters: Ex-Maldives president, back from exile, says new government will clear $3 billion China loan
Reuters: After building spree, just how much does the Maldives owe China?
The Times of India : US welcomes India 'reinvigorating' its ties with Maldives
ANI News: USA welcomes India reinvigorating ties with Maldives


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