Male: A day after his government terminated the USD 500 million GMR airport project here, Maldives President Mohamad Waheed on Wednesday hoped that it will not affect bilateral ties with India, which has reacted sharply over the Maldivian decision.
He also termed the Male airport development contract signed with GMR by his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed`s government as "void ab initio".
The President`s remarks come in the backdrop of sharp reaction by India which said Maldives should ensure that safety of Indian interests and its nationals are "fully protected" in that country.
"We have always maintained that this is a commercial contract that was signed by the Mr Nasheed`s Government under dubious conditions. The actual signing was conducted despite Parliament`s objection," Waheed said in an interview.
"We remain confident that India-Maldives relation will not be affected by the cancellation of the GMR contract by MACL (Maldives Airports Company Ltd). In the meantime two other contracts with Indian companies are been taken forward. The bilateral relation, especially in the fields of military, trade and business, is even stronger than before," he said.
The contentious GMR project was hanging in balance ever since the regime change in Maldives earlier this year. GMR along with its Malaysian partner Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad, had won the contract for developing the Male International Airport during Nasheed`s regime and it was the biggest single FDI into Maldives.
The issue had also cropped up during the talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Waheed, who visited India earlier this year. Waheed had then assured that Indian investments will remain "safe".