It has been revealed that the Maldives is the only Indian ocean island nation ineligible for an India e-visa.
At present 155 countries are eligible to apply for an Indian visa online. Various Asian, African, and European countries are on the list, including Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles, and Madagascar, four Indian ocean island nations. The Maldives is the only country not included in this list.
India issues e-visas for tourism, medical purposes, conferences, and business purposes. Maldivians have to apply for visas through the Indian High Commission in the Maldives.
The government of India uses visa policy as a way to 'punish' the Maldivian government whenever they are unhappy. During President Yameen's administration, the Indian government forced many Maldivian families living in India to leave the Maldives and made visa regulations harder for Maldivians.
Even during the covid-19 pandemic, Maldivians were forced to queue outside the Indian High Commission for more than 10 hours at times, to apply for the Indian medical visa.
At the moment India is planning to open a consulate in Addu City, the southernmost city of the Maldives and senior government officials justify the move stating that the consulate will help in obtaining visa for Maldivians who wish to travel to India.
However, it should be noted that, with a minor policy change, India can allow Maldivians to apply for visa online, without ever having to visit the High Commission or a consulate.