Tried my best to avert awkward situation in GMR case: President Waheed
Thanking the Indian Government and GMR for the professional manner in which the issue was dealt with, Maldives President Mohamed Waheed said he had tried his best to handle the matter in an amicable manner.
Maldives won a court battle for control of the island nation's main airport, and took over operations from a consortium led by India based GMR Infrastructure.
India-based GMR Infrastructure claimed that it met all commercial criteria required by the Maldives Government to secure the USD 511 million Male International Airport contract.
"I really want to assure you that we tried as much as we could under the circumstances. It just did not happen. But this should not be taken as change of policies or any lessening of our will to continue to work with foreign investors, especially from India," President Waheed told The-Hindu.
"I think the government of India has been very supportive. We have been having almost daily communication with senior officials of the government in India to brief them on how things were developing. Of course, we were always told to renegotiate... You see, we tried... this is why it took so long. I tried very hard. But initially GMR itself was very stubborn. They were not flexible at all. By the time they started saying okay, we can talk, it was already late, too late. That's what happened," he said.
The CEO of GMR Male International Airport, Andrew Harrison, said that the Maldives Government, which had given a sovereign guarantee, did not follow the terms of the agreement, which has laid down a proper procedure to be followed even in the case of terminating the contract.
The Maldives Government stood by its decision to take control of Male International Airport by December 8, inspite of sources saying that India is upset with the development, and has reportedly decided to freeze an aid of USD 25 million due to the Maldives in 2013.
Earlier, India had warned the Maldives that cancelling the GMR Group's Male airport project before the legal processes have been exhausted will have "adverse consequences" for bilateral ties.