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Maldives President called India its Closest Ally, Know Why?

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 23-03-2024
Maldives President called India its Closest Ally, Know Why? International news 8 min read

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has recently emphasized India's critical role as the Maldives' "closest ally" in a local media interview. 

  • Despite previously strained relations with India, Muizzu acknowledged the need for continued support from India to address the Maldives' debt burden. 
  • The Maldives is indebted to India for approximately $400.9 million as of the end of last year, underscoring the importance of financial cooperation between the two countries. It is apparent that India will continue to remain the Maldives’ closest ally.

Diplomatic Shift from Maldives

  • Muizzu's recent efforts to reconcile with India come after a period of tension marked by demands for the repatriation of Indian military personnel from the Maldives in December 2023 and a perceived shift towards China since taking office in November of that year. 
  • Recognizing India's significant contributions to the Maldives, Muizzu emphasized the importance of continuing joint projects and expressed gratitude for their support. Given the burden of sizable loans from India on the Maldives' economy, Muizzu appealed for more lenient loan repayment terms to alleviate financial strain on his nation..

Strategic Importance in the Indian Ocean

  • The Maldives holds great strategic importance due to its location near India, being only 70 nautical miles away from the island of Minicoy in Lakshadweep Islands and 300 nautical miles from the mainland's western coast. 
  • Additionally, the country is situated at the center of commercial sea lanes that traverse the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). 
  • Over the past few years, India has provided the people of the Maldives with humanitarian aid and medical evacuation services through the use of two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft, given the country's proximity to India and its position within these vital sea lanes.
  •  As the island nation prepares for parliamentary elections in mid-April, Muizzu has proposed the establishment of high-level committees to ensure swift decision-making and outlined plans for expedited projects, indicating his commitment to enhancing bilateral cooperation.

Debt Management for Maldives

  • The Maldives has acquired substantial loans from India that exceed the country's economic capacity. As a result, discussions are ongoing between the Maldives and the Indian government to explore options for repayment that align with the Maldives' economic capabilities. 
  • Muizzu has expressed optimism that India will provide debt relief measures to aid in the repayment of these loans and has conveyed gratitude to the Indian government for their contributions.

India’s investment in Maldives

  • Under the Indian concessional Line of Credit, several crucial infrastructure development projects are currently underway, including the redevelopment of Hanimaadhoo International Airport and the implementation of water and sanitation projects in Baarah and Kelaa islands. 
  • These efforts are being led by the Development Partnership Administration (DPA) of the Ministry of External Affairs, whose mission is to foster "Strengthening Friendship through Developmental Partnerships." Additionally, the Gan International Airport Redevelopment project is also part of this initiative.

Managing Military Presence

  • Muizzu, while emphasizing the significance of national security, addressed concerns over the presence of Indian military personnel. He emphasized the need for a diplomatic resolution to the matter.

Shift towards China

  • Although there have been indications of improved relations with India, Muizzu has shown a clear interest in cultivating a stronger relationship with China. 
  • This was made apparent by the agreements he signed during his visit to Beijing and his comments regarding sovereignty in the Indian Ocean. 
  • Notably, Muizzu signed a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership during his China trip, and also secured 20 agreements aimed at bolstering Maldives infrastructure. 
  • Additionally, China pledged a generous $130 million grant and expressed a commitment to sending more Chinese tourists to the Maldives, a country heavily reliant on tourism.

China in Maldives

  • India's diplomatic skills are being tested by the current geopolitical situation in the South Asian region. 
  • The Maldives seems to be welcoming Chinese investment on multiple fronts, lured by the appeal of their investments. 
  • Since joining the Belt and Road Initiative in 2014, China has invested approximately $1.37 billion and has assisted in the construction of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge and the upgrade of Velana Male International Airport. With the defence pact now signed, China has extended its foothold in almost all areas.
  • On closer inspection, it seems that China has been gradually making inroads into the Maldives for the past decade. In 2016, the Maldives leased the island Feydhoo Finolhu to Chinese companies for $4 million over a period of 50 years. 
  • There are even rumors that China is constructing a military outpost disguised as a tourist resort. China has also invested in infrastructure. As a result, anti-India sentiment is expected to rise in the Maldives, despite India's commitment to providing humanitarian and medical aid.

About Maldives

  • Maldives, an independent island country in the north-central Indian Ocean. 
  • It consists of a chain of about 1,200 small coral islands and sandbanks (some 200 of which are inhabited), grouped in clusters, or atolls.
  • Capital of Maldives is Male.


Answer: Maldives

Answer: Maldives

Answer: Male

answer: Indian ocean
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