GoI approves India-Maldives MoU for passenger, cargo services

GoI approves India-Maldives MoU for passenger, cargo services

NEW DELHI: The Indian cabinet on Wednesday gave ex-post facto approval for the pact signed between India and Maldives to start passenger and cargo services via sea route.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Maldives on June 8, during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the island country.
The MoU will pave way for ferry services between Maldives and India.
“The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval for the MoU between India and Maldives for the establishment of passenger and cargo services by sea, which was signed on June 8, 2019 during the visit of Prime Minister of India to Maldives,” the shipping ministry said in a statement.
The proposed ferry service would contribute in a big way to promote people to people contact and to boost bilateral trade.
With a view to harness the potential opportunity that lies in passenger and cargo transportation by sea between the two countries, this MoU with Maldives has been signed, the ministry said.
India is a leading development partner of Maldives and has established many of the leading institutions there. Currently, India has provided USD 100 million Stand-by Credit facility (SCF) to Maldives, including long-term loans and revolving credit for trade.
Male, the capital and most populous city, and Kulhudhuffushi, the third most populous city are good prospects for introduction of ferry service from Kochi for both tourists as well as cargo.
While Male is situated at a distance of 708 km from Kochi, Kulhudhuffushi is 509 Km away.
Kulhudhuffushi and the islands around are major population area in the northern part of Maldives and have a large number of resorts, which could be possible tourist destinations for Indians.
Present connectivity involves flights to Male and sea planes to the resorts, which is an expensive option.
On the other hand, connectivity with Kochi through sea could promote inbound tourism, particularly health and wellness tourism for India. A large number of Maldivians also travel to Kerala and other South Indian cities for educational purposes.
—PTI