India to aid Maldives pres to reach first 100 day goals

India on Monday vowed to assist new Maldives president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in achieving the goals he has earmarked during the first 100 days of his government.

The promise was made during a courtesy call on president Solih by the Indian ambassador to Maldives Akhilesh Mishra, and his spouse Reeti Mishra in the capital Male on Monday.

During the call, President Solih and the Indian Ambassador emphasized the long standing bilateral relations between the Maldives and India, president's office said in a statement.

The President and the Ambassador shed light on various segments where the existing ties between the two countries could further strengthen, including health, education, technology, youth and women empowerment, sports cooperation, housing and infrastructure development, and water and sewerage services.

Speaking at the meeting the Indian Ambassador highlighted that the “First 100 Days” agenda of President Solih’s administration is the ideal platform for the Maldives and India to further build relations on.

"The Ambassador further assured of India’s full support and cooperation in achieving these goals," the statement read.

Addressing the parliament after being sworn in as the archipelago's seventh president at the national football stadium in the capital Male last month, the veteran lawmaker detailed a number of goals his government had set for the first 100 days.

"By the end of this period, electricity prices will be reduced. Tuition fees will be fully covered for undergraduate degrees. School students will be provided free breakfast. Pension funds may be utilized for Hajj pilgrimage," Solih explained.

The president also vowed to stop issuing fishing permits for foreigners and eliminate import duties on agricultural capital.

"A green tax will be introduced and its revenues will be funnelled towards environmental protection programs," he added.

Solih stressed on the need to resolve the housing crisis especially in the capital and pledged an equitable housing program based on the assessments conducted by the island councils.

"An air ambulance service will be launched across the Maldives to accelerate emergency response. The National Mental Health Institute will be established where health costs will be covered by Aasandha [Universal Health Insurance scheme]. Councils will reclaim its autonomy that have been eroded," he detailed.

"These are only a few amongst all targets earmarked for my 100 days in office."

India meanwhile is considering providing up to USD1 billion in loans to the Maldives to help it pay its debt to China.

The countries are expected to iron out the details before president Solih visits India in December.

The island nation has amassed billions in debt to China to fund mega development projects initiated by former Maldives president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Beijing has provided grant and loans to fund several major infrastructure projects including a landmark bridge connecting the capital Male to the airport island Hulhule.