Tuesday saw the signing of six agreements between India and the Maldives to deepen cooperation in several crucial areas. Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that New Delhi has been and will continue to be the “first responder” to any needs or crises the island nation faces.
Modi offered a Line of Credit of USD 100 million (one million Equals 10 lakh) for the neighboring nation for the completion of development projects promptly following extensive discussions with visiting Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
The relations between the two countries
Maldives and India are close neighbors. India and the Maldives have had positive relations ever since the Maldives earned independence from the British in 1965.
India has aided the Maldives in times of need, including the 1988 coup attempt, the tsunami of 2004, the water crisis of 2014, and most recently the Covid epidemic.
The Maldives import food from India to maintain food security.
India is making investments in Maldives’ infrastructure projects.
Both nations are assisting one another in the battle against terrorism and drug trafficking.
The Maldives’ economy is primarily reliant on tourism and fishing. Maldives has been one of the top tourist destinations for Indian visitors because of the strong relations between India and the country.
What are the challenges?
However, after China-leaning Abdulla Yameen took office as president of the Maldives in 2013, tensions between India and the Maldives began to rise.
After Ibrahim Solih was elected president of the Maldives in 2018, bilateral relations have returned to normal again.
Using misleading information and propaganda, Abdulla Yameen, the former president of the Maldives, launched the China-backed “India Out” campaign there in 2020 intending to sabotage bilateral relations. This campaign was rejected by the Maldives’ major parties including the ruling party. The campaign was outlawed by Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in April 2022. Ibrahim Solih, the president of the Maldives, traveled to India in August 2022. He stated that the Maldives will always uphold the “India First” policy throughout the visit.