MEA hopes for early resolution of legal tussle between GMR Group and Maldives Govt.

New Delhi, Jan.1 : The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has expressed the hope that infrastructure firm, GMR and Maldivian government will resolve their dispute over the Male Airport legally at the earliest.

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is expected to discuss this issue with the Indian leadership during his visit to New Delhi from January 1 to 4. President Gayoom would be accompanied by a high level delegation.

GMR, a subsidiary of Bangalore-based GMR Infrastructure Limited has been given seven days to leave the Indian Ocean island chain.

In 2012, Maldives cancelled its biggest foreign investment project, a USD 511 million deal with Indian firm GMR Group to develop its international airport, raising questions over the future of foreign investment in the islands renowned for luxury resorts.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin said: "My understanding of the issue of GMR and the government of Maldives is that it is arbitration and that will take its due course and the governments of Maldives and GMR have said that they will proceed on those lines. I have no idea about any specific meetings on that day."

The cancellation raised concerns over investor protection in the Maldives, which is seeking foreign financing of tourism projects, and follows a year of political turmoil, with the ousting of a president and months of unrest.

The Maldives action exacerbated already strained relations with neighbouring India, which warned it would "take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of its interests and its nationals in the Maldives"

Akbaruddin further said: "We hope to have very intensive discussions between the president of Maldives and the prime minister of India following which if there are announcements, and there are always announcements of a nature which maybe of interest to you because India and Maldives do have a very, very strong bond."

GMR won the contract in 2010 to upgrade and operate the Maldives airport and build a new terminal after a global tender overseen by the World Bank.

--ANI (Posted on 01-01-2014)

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