Parliament representative for Villimale’ Constituency Ahmed Usham has stated that regional development is neither connected to nor impacted by the existence or establishment of a consulate within the region.
Usham’s comments are aimed at Addu City Mayor and the city’s parliamentarians who are touting the idea that the establishment of an Indian Consulate in Addu would be an important step towards the development of the city. Regardless of this claim, they have been unable to provide a concrete example as to how the consulate being established would lead to the development of the City. The only card they have to play seems to be that the establishment of the consulate would make it easier for citizens of the city to acquire Indian Visas. However, others have pointed out that the same can be achieved without building a consulate if the Visa application process is digitalized.
Usham’s response to those who claim that the consulate will open doors of development for Addu draws from a comment left on a news article referring to the matter. The commentor, who only identified themselves as “Bodu Meeha” had written that the main role and responsibility of a consulate was to provide easy access to services for their citizens living in the host nation.
To better illustrate their point, the commenter detailed that the role of the Maldivian Consulate based in Trivandrum is not to bring about development to the Indian city, but to provide necessary services and support to the Maldivian citizens living and visiting the region. If indeed consulates were the heralds of development, there would a Japanese Embassy on each inhabited island of the Maldives, and people wouldn’t need to stand in line for hours outside the Indian High Commission to apply for Visas, said the comment.
Following the Indian Cabinet’s decision to establish a consulate in Addu City, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih stated that the decision was one taken by India, and that the Maldivian government has yet to make a decision on the matter.
However, many Cabinet Ministers and pro-government parliamentarians have expressed their support and defense of the idea of a consulate in Addu City.