India-Maldives Relations - Seeker's Thoughts

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India-Maldives Relations

India and Maldives have seen a little difficult situation during the term from 2013- 2018 during the time of President Abdulla Yameen’s reign. 

The president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party swept general polls in April 2019, and he tried to restore the terms between India and Maldives.

In 2019, after claiming victory once again, Mr. Modi decided to visit the Maldives as the first nation.

Mr. Modi was also conferred with the Maldives’ highest honor — the Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen — by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

India and Maldives Relationship

 India and Maldives have close relation strategically and economically. Both had a long history of military cooperation

India and Maldives established the diplomatic connection in 1966 after the independence of Maldives. In November 1988 India helped the Maldives to fight the armed attack of the People Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam under operation Cactus.

India has provided extensive economic aid and has participated in a bilateral program for the development of infrastructure health, civil aviation, telecommunication, and labor resources. It has established the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Male.


The reign of Yameen and India – Maldives relations

In Maldives political crisis risen after president Abdulla Yameen decided to disobey the supreme court order to release 9 political prisoners, and tried to curb the opposition to prevent the impeachment.

In February 2018, president Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency and ordered the arrest of two judges of the supreme court of the Maldives including Chief Justice.

Former president of Maldives had requested India to send the military in the island to control the situation.  

However, India did not pay attention as India does not interfere in any other country's internal affairs. On the other hand, Maldives constantly has shown fondness towards China.

Maldivian companies denied recruiting Indian and advertised "Indian need not to apply".

Not only that Indians were denied the permit to work as India strongly opposed the emergency in the country.

India has lowered the limit on the export of certain essential commodities such as potatoes, onion to the Maldives.

Though few expected Yameen to lose the polls, Solih’s victory brought enthusiasm among people who favored a strong democratic institution. 
President- Solih
President- Solih

India’s Foreign Policy towards the Maldives.

Narendra Modi was elected as Prime Minister of India in 2014 for the first time, and in 2019 in the second time.

In 2014 his policy remained to visit all neighbors while the Maldives stood as an exception. There was a planned visit of Narendra Modi in 2015 but due to volatile political conditions in the Maldives, the visit was cancelled.

In swearing in ceremony of the president Solih, the only present foreign leader was Mr. Narendra Modi, and that revealed India’s willingness to be friends with the Maldives.

Both countries have been very close until the reign of Yameen.

During Yameen’s reign, there have been repeated calls for intervention, India firmly avoided military action against the Yameen regime.

New Delhi thoughtfully coordinated its diplomatic response with other stakeholders, and put enormous pressure on Yameen to hold the presidential elections in a fair and transparent manner. This patience seems to have yielded a positive outcome as India finds itself in an advantageous situation now.

Instead of locking horns with each other, negotiation and diplomatic talks were the need of the hour. More conflicts will bring volatility to the region, so both of the countries rethought and maintain the stability in the world.

Areas to work between India and Maldives

In June2019, there were various agreement signed between India and Maldives. A passenger- cum-cargo ferry service between Kerala’s Kochi and the Maldivian Capital Male will be started between two countries to boost tourism.

There were various agreement signed between India and Maldives, which covered hydrograohy, health, passenger and cargo services by sea. The capacity building in custom and civil service training was also a part of the memorandum of understanding.

The $800 million Line of Credit agreement was also signed and supported by India and Maldives in June 2019 for assisting the Maldives to achieve sustainable social and economic development.

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