In Wake of Backlash, Maldives Urges China to Boost Tourism Amid Indian Tensions

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During his visit to China, President Mohamed Muizzu lauded the Belt and Road Initiative for delivering significant infrastructure projects in the Maldives. Despite recent tensions with India, Muizzu emphasized China’s vital role as a close ally and sought to reestablish it as the primary source of tourism, requesting intensified efforts to attract Chinese visitors. The two nations also signed a noteworthy $50 million project for an integrated tourism zone in the Maldives.

In addressing the diplomatic strain with India, Muizzu’s government had suspended three deputy ministers for derogatory social media posts. The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) condemned the comments, adding complexity to the situation as India remained the largest tourist market for the Maldives in 2023.

Furthermore, Muizzu reiterated his administration’s commitment to the swift implementation of the Free Trade Agreement signed with China, aiming to strengthen commercial ties. He sought Chinese investments for 11 key projects, including the relocation of the Male Commercial Port, Velana International Airport development, additional airport construction, and special economic zone expansion. Overall, Muizzu’s visit aimed to foster economic collaboration and enhance diplomatic ties with China, reinforcing the Maldives’ strategic partnership with its Asian ally.

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