India to build Harbour for Maldivian Coast Guard
India and Maldives launched construction of ‘Ekatha Harbour' for the Coast Guard of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).
An overview of the news
The foundation stone for the Coast Guard ‘Ekatha Harbour’ was laid by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Maldivian counterpart, Mariya Didi, at Sifavaru in Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) atoll, where India is assisting in construction of a naval dockyard.
This is the biggest grant-in-aid project of India in Maldives.
The UTF project, announced during External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit in February 2021, has been at the centre of a political controversy in the Maldives.
Allegations that the project was meant for Indian military presence in the Indian Ocean nation were part of an "India Out" campaign, which was supported by the country's opposition leader, Abdulla Yameen.
Last April, Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih banned anti-India protests as a threat to national security.
Anti-India campaigners allege that Indian troops were stationed in a fast patrol vessel India recently gifted to Maldives Coast Guard.
Recent gifts of India to Maldives
India gifted a Dornier aircraft to Maldives in 2020 and a patrol ship in 2019.
In 2022, India had also given Coastal Radar System to Male.
Last year, Modi had announced that India would provide 24 vehicles and a naval boat and build police facilities on the country's 61 islands.
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