India stiffens medical visa facility for Maldivians
In what is being seen as retaliation to the cancellation of GMR contract, India has tightened visas for Maldives as New Delhi has stopped Maldivians from using their visa-free travel facilities to India for other activities like medical treatment, restricting it only to tourism.
India, who signed bilateral visa agreement with Maldives in 1979, revised the interpretation of “liberal” term which used to allow thousands of Maldivians to use a 90-day visa-on-arrival facility meant only for tourism to travel for treatment in Indian hospitals.
Why this step?
Maldives has not reciprocated in the way India showed them its munificence in the liberal use of the facility. While India allowed Maldivians to seek treatment on tourist visas as it never questioned the purpose of their visit. However, authorities in Male have admitted that there always was a “mutual understanding” that such travelers required medical visa. India is also angry over detention and deportation of Indian travelers and confiscation of the passports of Indian workers there by their employers. India has also put forward a list of demands to Maldives in which it has also sought quick release of 14 Indians detained in the Indian Ocean nation.