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 Prime Minister’s visit to Maldives.
Currently, India has provided US $100 million Stand-by Credit facility (SCF) to Maldives, including long-term loans and revolving credit for trade.
As part of the MoU, India would look at starting ferry service between Male, the capital and Kulhudhuffushi with Kochi. This would be for both tourists as well as cargo. While Male is situated at a distance of 708 Kms from Kochi, Kulhudhuffushi is 509 Kms away.
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.
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 proposed ferry service would contribute in a big way to promote people to people contact and to boost bilateral trade.