I thank India for the assistance it has provided throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We remain grateful that we can always rely on #India during times of need. Both our countries have experienced the hardships and tragedies of the pandemic, but we are emerging stronger together.Abdulla Shahid Foreign Minister of Maldives
External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar reached Maldives for a two day official visit to review bilateral engagement and launch key Indianbacked projects. The visit attempt’s to increase India’s influence in the region. India will assist in setting up of the National College of Policing and Law Enforcement, drug rehabilitation center in the city of Addu. India has also financed in the development of eco tourism zones.
Shri S.Jaishankar is scheduled to visit SriLanka from March 28 to 30, for crucial talks following India’s recent $2.4 billion assistance to the cashstrapped island nation in the midst of a grave economic crisis.
India Out campaign
The former Maldives president Abdulla Yameen, who was convictied in a money-laundering case by the Supreme Court of Maldives backed ‘India Out’ campaign.
The “India Out” campaign claims the large numbers of Indian military presence in Maldives and that the
government is planning to hand over the Uthuru Thilafalhu atoll to the Indian Navy inspite of Maldives Governments assertion that there are no additional Indian military personnel in the country.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has launched “India first” policy.
History of India–Maldives relations
India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links steeped in antiquity and enjoy close, cordial and multi-dimensional relations. India was among the first to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965 and to establish diplomatic relations with the country. India established its mission at the level of CDA in 1972 and resident High Commissioner in 1980. Maldives opened a full fledged High Commission in New Delhi in November 2004, at that time one of its only four diplomatic missions worldwide.
Maldives is the smallest Asian country. Maldives’ proximity to the west coast of India (it is barely 70 nautical miles away from Minicoy and 300 nautical miles away from India’s West coast), and its situation at the hub of commercial sea‐lanes running through Indian Ocean (particularly the 8° Nand 1 ½° N channels), and its potential to allow a third nation’s naval presence in the area imbues it with significant strategic importance to India.
The one‐time claim of Maldives to Minicoy Island was resolved by the Maritime Boundary Treaty of 1976 between the two countries, whereby Maldives has recognized Minicoy as an integral part of India.
Indians are the second largest expatriate community in the Maldives with a total strength of around 28000. The Indian expatriate community consists of doctors, nurses and technicians, teachers, construction workers, tailors, etc. spread all over the country. Of the country’s approximately 400 doctors, over 125 are Indians. Similarly around 25% of teachers in Maldives are Indians, mostly at middle and senior levels.
India and Maldives are members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Maldives is a member of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
PM Narendra Modi will attend Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit on March 30 virtually.
The BIMSTEC member states – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
NB: Maldives is not a member of BIMSTEC