Afcons Infrastructure Limited, an Indian company that has been engaged for various development projects in the Maldives, has been identified as the company developing a secret Indian naval base on the remote Mauritian island of Agaléga.
Satellite imagery, financial data, and on-the-ground evidence collected by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit indicate to a naval base under development on Agaléga that will almost probably be used for marine patrol missions by India’s navy.
According to Al Jazeera, the development of the naval base was contracted to India’s Afcons Infrastructure as part of a USD 250 million project.
The Indian company has also been executing many development projects in the Maldives, including Addu City’s road development and land reclamation project, according to local news reports.
The road development and land reclamation project at the country’s southernmost atoll is funded by a USD 800 million line of credit from India’s EXIM Bank.
Furthermore, Afcons Infrastructure has been awarded the project to construct the ThilaMale’ Bridge, the Solih administration’s largest infrastructure project connecting Male’ and Thilafushi.
As the bridge construction project was also sponsored by Indian aid, the bidding process for the project was only open to Indian enterprises. EXIM Bank opened the bidding procedure to prequalified entities, and Afcons Infrastructure secured the contract.
The project, which is scheduled to be finished in two years, is being funded by an EXIM Bank line of credit in the amount of USD 400 million and grant support in the amount of USD 100 million.
Furthermore, the public was outraged by the presence of Indian military personnel in the Maldives, ostensibly to operate an India-donated helicopter and Dornier aircraft.
The public also accused India of attempting to influence Maldives internal affairs by running several development projects in the country, including Addu City projects, Hanimaadhoo Airport, and the Uthuru Thila Falhu project.
In addition, the “IndiaOut” social media campaign was launched in response to India’s decision to open a consulate in Addu City, which is now awaiting confirmation from the Maldives government.