On 02SEP12 the Indian Express reported on Maldives President Mohamed Waheed’s maiden visit to China since he assumed power in February 2012. Most reported during the visit was China’s generous offer of a USD 500 million loan to the country, an amount nearly 1/4th of the Maldives GDP. (Interestingly, this amount is the Maldives reported budget deficit for 2012)
In accepting the offer, Waheed praised Beijing’s approach to smaller countries and its policy of non-interference in their internal affairs “unlike other influential countries”.
The loan reportedly includes USD 150 million for housing and infrastructure, with another USD 350 million from the Export-Import Bank of China.
Waheed was in China as one of the guests at the China-Eurasia Expo in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi which was inaugurated by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on 02SEP12.
Seen as growing influence of China in the Maldives, Beijing has opened its Embassy in Male for the first time last November (2011) much to India’s disquiet. Almost seen as a counter, India during the same month extended a new Standby Credit Facility of USD 100 million during PM Singh’s visit.
Prior to Waheed’s 2012 visit to China, he visited New Delhi back in May to discus various bilateral issues including defense cooperation.