Cabinet approves MoU signed between India and Maldives for ferry services

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Maldives for the establishment of passenger and cargo services by sea.


With a view to harnessing the potential opportunity that lies in passenger and cargo transportation by sea between the two countries, this MoU with the Maldives has been signed, said an official statement on Wednesday.


The proposed ferry service would contribute in a big way to promote people to people contact and to boost bilateral trade, it added.


India is a leading development partner of Maldives and has established many leading institutions in the island nation.


India has provided USD 100 million stand-by credit facility (SCF) to the Maldives, including long-term loans and revolving credit for trade, the statement read.


It further noted that Kulhudhuffushi, the third most populous city of Maldives, has good prospects for the introduction of ferry services from Kochi for both tourists as well as cargo.


Kulhudhuffushi and the islands around are a major population centre in the northern part of Maldives and have a large number of resorts which could be possible tourist destinations for Indians, it said.


Other forms of connectivity between India and Maldives include flight services to Male' and seaplanes 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, the statement read.


It should also be noted that a large number of Maldivians also travel to Kerala and other South Indian cities for educational purposes.