Diplomacy Politics

Was the Maldives-India New Visa Agreement in the Making Since 2009?

New Delhi: The foreign minister Abdulla Shahid took to Twitter on Tuesday and announced for a new visa agreement with India under which, the visas would be relaxed for teachers, parents, guardians and for medical purposes.

While there is yet to be an official word from the Ministry of External Affairs on the same, Shahid confirmed that the new agreement would be signed during the newly-elected President Ibrahim Solih’s visit to India in December.

The countries, over the last few months, have faced hassles regarding visa issues, among other problems. In July, there were reports that hundreds of Indians have been denied work visas by the Maldives and several employers in the island nation have informed applicants that work visas for Indians were not being issued at present.

Reacting to the situation, the Indian government had said it was working to resolve the same. However, the Maldives, back then, had repeatedly denied allegations of any such trouble.

With Shahid’s announcement of a new visa agreement, hopes have been renewed once again over easier visas for Indians, who migrate to the island country in large numbers for employment prospects.

How New Is The New Visa Agreement Going To Be?

In 2009, India wrote to Maldives, months after Mohammed Nasheed took over as President. Sources told News18 that the Indian side wrote in January 2009 with an aim to ease out difficulties faced by nationals of both sides. Reportedly, the Indian authorities wrote to the Maldivian government three times over the next year, but there was no development on the same.

Four years later, in 2014, Abdulla Yameen came to power. In 2015, a draft agreement to facilitate the necessary changes was proposed. Maldivian side said that the changing times required revising the visa agreement.

The draft was discussed during consular talks held in 2017 in New Delhi which officials from the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs attended. The draft, however, continued to languish, as both sides failed to reach a conclusion. The revised draft agreement included easier visas for medical purposes, guardian visas, parent visas.

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Source URL: Google News

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