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India to Launch Coastal Surveillance Radar Stations in Maldives

In November 2018, India resumed the second phase of a project to install coastal surveillance radar stations, which are crucial for the Indian Navy following the replacement of former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen by Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The work was stalled during the Maldives' previous government.

New Delhi (Sputnik): Strengthening bilateral relations with the new Maldivian government, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate 10 coastal surveillance radar stations across the Maldives that will enhance the Indian Navy's maritime domain awareness (MDA) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

These radars are part of India's "chain of radars", with Sri Lanka set to host six radars, Mauritius eight, and one such system would be located in the Seychelles. These radars will generate live feeds of ship movements in the IOR. 

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"Prime Minister Modi and President Solig will jointly inaugurate two projects — Coastal Surveillance Radar System and Composite Training System for the Maldives National Defence Forces. These two are very important projects valued around $26 million", Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told media in a briefing in New Delhi about Modi's visit to the Maldives.

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India will also sign agreements related to customs, white shipping, and training of civil servants during the visit. Modi will pay a state visit to the Maldives on 8-9 June at the invitation of Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. This will be the first overseas visit of Prime Minister Modi since re-election, the External Affairs Ministry announced on Thursday.

The bilateral relations between the two countries had dipped after February 2018, when the former president of the Maldives declared a state of emergency, which India condemned.

India criticised the decision taken by the then Abdulla Yameen government about the sentencing of former Maldivian President Abdul Gayoom and Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, calling it "denial of a free trial". In December 2018, India announced $200 million as budgetary support to the island nation to help ease its cash flow constraints.

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India also opened a line of credit of up to $800 million to finance infrastructure projects and the Indian foreign secretary on Thursday also announced that the three projects have already been finalised. "Water supply and sewerage for 36 of the islands which [are] inhabited, another is urban development centre in the southern part of the Maldives and third project is SME development financing project", Gokhale said, while providing the project's details.

The External Affairs Ministry also announced that $400 million will be released under a currency swap agreement to shore up the foreign currency reserve of the island nation.


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