"We are open to corporate India. Indian investments are welcome in Maldives. I assure Indian industry that we will provide a conducive environment for investment," Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom while addressing members of three industry chambers - CII, Ficci and Assocham.     

He said the strategic location of the island nation in the Indian Ocean makes it an ideal investment destination. "Areas such as fisheries, tourism and hospitality, transport and energy were some of the sectors for investments," he said, adding that Maldives is more suited as a hub for the services sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry E M S Natchiappan pitched for negotiations for a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with Maldives. The agreement would help to protect Indian investments in that country.
In 2012, Maldives cancelled its biggest foreign investment project, a USD 511 million deal with India's GMR Group to develop Male international airport, raising questions about the future of Indian investment in the islands. The case is currently in arbitration.
Ficci member Ambuj Chaturvedi outlined a five-point agenda to enhance economic engagement with the Maldives. He said both countries should sign BIPPA, increase exchanges of business delegations and improve air connectivity.
CII past President Subodh Bhargava suggested the two countries should explore new areas of cooperation such as IT, promoting Maldives as a location for Bollywood movies and the creation of warehouses, among others.
Trade between India and Maldives stood at USD 128.65 million in 2012-13. It was USD 143.49 million in 2011-12.


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