Recently, Afcons, an Indian company, has signed a contract for the largest-ever infrastructure project in Maldives which is the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP).

The project is the result of bilateral consultation between India and the Maldives and has been under discussion since the visit of India’s External Affairs Minister to Male in September 2019.

Important points:

  • It will consist of a 6.74 km-long bridge and causeway link between Male and nearby islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi. It will use renewable energy.
  • The project is funded by a grant of USD 100 million and a Line of Credit (LOC) of USD 400 million from India
  • It is not only the biggest project India is doing in the Maldives but also the biggest infrastructure project in the Maldives overall.



  • It is considered as the economic lifeline for the Maldives and will provide a major boost to connectivity between the four islands accounting for about half of the Maldivian population.
  • It will add dynamism to the Maldivian transport and economic activities.
  • The GMCP project would be bigger than the Sinamale Bridge built with Chinese assistance that connects Male with Hulhumale and Hulhule and was completed in 2018.
  • Also the Indian aid to Maldives in August 2020 was appreciated and contrasted with the previous expensive commercial loans to Maldives by China which are being termed “debt-trap diplomacy” of China.
  • Wherein China intentionally extends excessive credit to another country with the intention of extracting economic or political concessions from the debtor country.
  • The India-Maldives relationship suffered a setback when Maldives entered into a Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) with China in 2017.
  • However with the election of a new pro-India government in Maldives, the relationships have improved and Maldives is also considering pulling out of the FTA with China.
  • At present, India-assisted projects in the region include water and sewerage projects on 34 islands, reclamation projects for the Addl island, a port on Gulhifalhu, airport redevelopment at Hanimaadhoo, and a hospital and a cricket stadium in Hulhumale.
  • India had also announced a 800 million USD Line of Credit to Maldives in December 2018.

Way Forward

  • This isn’t only about an ambitious project involving both India and the Maldives. The terms of the agreement call for the completion of the bridge by 2023.
  • For India, Maldives holds strategic importance and showing that it can deliver would help mitigate some concerns that may exist in the Maldives.


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