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India approves highest-ever export quotas for essential commodities to Maldives amid tensions

Amid the India-Maldives row, India has allowed for the export of certain quantities of essential commodities for 2024-25 under a unique bilateral mechanism, at the request of the Maldives government. The High Commission of India in the Maldives posted on Thursday on X, stating that the quotas for each of these items have been revised upwards.

"Upon the request of the Government of Maldives, the Government of India has allowed for export of certain quantities of essential commodities for the year 2024-25 under a unique bilateral mechanism, wherein, the quotas for each of these items have been revised upwards," the post stated. The quota for river sand and stone aggregates, crucial items for the booming construction industry in the Maldives, has been increased by 25 per cent to 1,000,000 metric tonnes.

There has also been an increase of 5 per cent in the quotas for eggs, potatoes, onions, sugar, rice, wheat flour and dal (pulses). Moreover, last year as well, India continued to export rice, sugar and onions to the Maldives despite a worldwide ban on the export of these items from India.

"India remains strongly committed to supporting human-centric development in the Maldives, as part of its 'Neighbourhood First' policy," the statement by the Indian High Commission in Maldives stated. Notably, ties between India and the Maldives have been strained since Muizzu assumed office, as he criticised New Delhi during and after the presidential polls.

Earlier in March, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu requested New Delhi for debt relief measures, while stating that India will continue to remain Maldives' "closest ally," local media reported. He further claimed that he has "not taken any action nor made any statements" that may strain the relationship between the two countries.

In an interview with local media 'Mihaaru', President Muizzu said that he hopes India will accommodate debt relief measures for the Maldives' in the repayment of the hefty loans taken from the country over consecutive governments, Adhadhu reported.

"The conditions we have inherited are such that there are very large loans taken from India. Hence, we are holding discussions to explore leniencies in the repayment structure of these loans. Instead of halting any ongoing projects, proceed with them at speed. So I see no reason for any adverse effects [on Maldives-India relations]," he said.

Source : DNA India

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