The Union Council of Ministers of India has given approval for the MoU between India and Maldives for the establishment of passenger and cargo services by sea, which was signed on June 8, 2019 during the visit of Prime Minister of India to Maldives.
Specifically, under the deal the parties will explore a proposed ferry service with an idea to harness the potential opportunity that exists in passenger and cargo transportation by sea between the two countries.
According to India
(the service would contribute) in a big way to promote people to people contact and to boost bilateral trade.
Male, the capital and most populous city and Kulhudhuffushi, the third most populous city of Maldives are good prospects for introduction of ferry service from Kochi for both tourists as well as cargo.
Present connectivity involves flights to Male and sea planes to the resorts, which is an expensive option. On the other hand, connectivity with Kochi through sea could promote inbound tourism, particularly health and wellness tourism for India. A large number of Maldivians also travel to Kerala and other South Indian cities for educational purposes.
India has provided USD 100 million stand-by credit facility (SCF) to Maldives, including long-term loans and revolving credit for trade.