India, Malaysia discuss Maldives GMR contract termination
The termination of $511 million GMR Male airport project by the Maldivian government was “mentioned” in the bilateral meeting between India and Malaysia, which was the project partner, with both sides sharing their “disappointment” over the development.
“The matter was mentioned. I would not say that it was discussed in great detail. We wanted an update on their impression because their foreign minister had visited there (Maldives) briefly.
“His take away was more or less the same understanding that we have that there were two separate issues and we would rather have two issues not confused or converged,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Friday. He said while one was pure assessment of contract and legal steps taken, and other is if there were political reasons behind such a termination.
“The disappointment that we felt and I think we have a right to feel disappointed was also felt by them (Malaysia). They have also been able to secure from Maldivians a letter, in some form, which indicated that performance and quality of performance was not the ground at all for termination. It was necessary for Malaysia to have it for its future prospects elsewhere,” the minister said.
India has conveyed to Maldives that if there were political reasons behind the termination, they should be contained and not allowed to “spill over” in the bilateral ties, the minister said.
Khurshid also talked about GMR’s desire for a quick implementation of the subsequent consequences arising out of the termination of the contract which includes compensation and damages.
India’s infrastructure major GMR had 77 per cent stake while the Malaysian government-owned MAHB held 23 per cent in the upgradation of Male International Airport project, which was awarded by the previous Nasheed government in Maldives. On November 27, the Maldivian government unilaterally terminated the contract leading to legal wrangling between the government and the companies. Earlier this month, Singapore Supreme Court upheld Maldives’ right to terminate the contract.
- Asian Tribune -