Male: Maldives will wrest control of its international airport from India's GMR Infrastructure, cancelling its biggest foreign investment project, despite an order from a Singapore court suspending the project's termination. READ MORE: Male airport case: Relief for GMR infra (Agencies)
The standoff over the USD 511 million project threatens to cloud foreign investor sentiment on Maldives, which is seeking overseas cash for many of its tourism projects. The country terminated an agreement with GMR last week, rattling its relations with India.
"We will continue the airport takeover and Inshallah next Saturday onwards MACL (state-controlled Maldives Airport Company Limited) will be running the airport," Mohamed Nazim, defence minister and acting transport minister, told a press conference in the capital Male on Monday.
Earlier in the day, GMR won a stay order from a Singapore court, which the company says has jurisdiction over disputes in the agreement, on cancellation of the airport contract. GMR said it would continue to operate the airport as normal.
"We have obtained an injunctive stay on the operations of that (contract termination) letter," said Arun Bhagat, spokesman for the GMR group.
The government of the Maldives, a tropical island chain south-west of India famous for its luxury beach resorts and white sands, cancelled the 2010 agreement saying that it was not valid.
The cancellation follows President Mohamed Waheed's failure to renegotiate terms, sources close to president's office told Reuters, and comes after a year of political turmoil that saw the ousting of its former president and months of unrest.
Shares in GMR closed up 5.4 percent at 19.60 rupees in a Mumbai market that ended down 0.2 percent.
"We would fight for our rights all the way, through the court. That is very clear," Andrew Harrison, chief executive officer of the GMR airport project, a news channel told.
"We expect that under the terms of the concession agreement ... any orders issued by the (Singapore) court would be respected, because that is enshrined within the agreement."
Imad Masood, a spokesman for the President of Maldives said he had not received the court's order.
Male: Maldives will wrest control of its international airport from India's GMR Infrastructure, cancelling its biggest foreign investment project, despite an order from a Singapore court suspending the project's termination.
READ MORE: Male airport case: Relief for GMR infra