India and the Maldives to launch a ferry service connecting the two countries, an initiative, which is expected to boost tourism. The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the establishment of passenger and cargo services by sea.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was announced during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Indian Ocean archipelago.
The MoU will pave the way for ferry services between the Maldives and India, said a statement from the ministry of shipping, India. The proposed ferry service would contribute in a big way to promote people to people contact and to boost bilateral trade.
Both Prime Minister Modi and Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih emphasised the need to improve connectivity and the two leaders have directed officials to expeditiously work towards starting a regular passenger-cum-cargo ferry service between Kerala’s Kochi and the Maldivian capital Male via Kulhudhuffushi atoll.
The distance between Kochi and Male is about 700 kms, and between Kochi and Kulhudhuffushi atoll is 500 kms.
Addressing the Maldivian Parliament, Modi said: «I am particularly happy that we have agreed upon a ferry service between the two countries».
«This is the first time we are going to begin passenger cum cargo services directly connecting the Indian mainland with the Maldives from Kochi via Kulhudhuffushi to Male,»foreign secretary of India Vijay Gokhale said.
India and Maldives inked six agreements as PM Narendra Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih held talks on a wide ranging issues.
«Both the leaders emphasised the need to improve connectivity between the two countries through the establishment of enabling infrastructure and in this regard, directed their concerned officials to expeditiously work towards starting a regular passenger-cum-cargo ferry service between Kochi and Kulhudhuffushi and Male,»the ministry of external affairs of India said in a statement.