Question: New Visa Agreement between India and which country came in to force on 11th March, 2019?
- India and Maldives entered into a new visa agreement on 11th March, 2019.
- The agreement will provide a liberal visa policy for Maldivians seeking medical treatment as well as education and business opportunities in India.
- With this new visa deal, Maldivian businessmen and tourists can stay in India for 90 days without a visa. Maldivians with tourist visas can also stay in India for treatment in any emergency medical issue.
- The agreement was reached during the visit of Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to India last December. Both the governments had agreed to implement the visa facilitation agreement after completing the required procedures.
- Maldives is an island country located in the south of Indian Ocean. Its capital is Male and Ibrahim Mohammed Solih is the President of Maldives.
- India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links and enjoy cordial and multidimensional relations. India was among the first to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965 and to establish diplomatic relations with the country. India established its mission at Male in 1972.
- India and Maldives have consistently supported each other in multilateral fora such as the UN, the Commonwealth, the NAM and the SAARC.
- India is one of the important allies of Maldives. The relation however was turned sour when former President Abdulla Yameen increased the ties with China over India. It was however reinstated with the visit of recently elected President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih to India in December, 2018.
- Currently, India has provided US$100 million Stand-by Credit facility (SCF) to Maldives, including long-term loans and revolving credit for trade. Under new Line of Credit worth US$40 million offered by the Government of India to Maldives, the Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (OIA) of India has been given a contract to construct 485 housing units in Maldives.