Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

Operation SanjeevaniPrelims Only


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Operation Sanjeevani

Mains level : India-Maldives Relations

An Indian Air Force (IAF) C-130J transport aircraft o delivered 6.2 tonne of essential medicines and hospital consumables to Maldives under Operation Sanjeevani.

Operation Sanjeevani

  • At the request of the govt. of Maldives, the IAF aircraft activated Operation Sanjeevani and lifted these medicines from airports in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Madurai before flying to the Maldives.
  • Among other things, these medicines include influenza vaccines, anti-viral drugs such as lopinavir and ritonavir — which have been used to treat patients with COVID-19 in other countries.
  • The flights are being operated on commercial basis following demands from pharmaceutical companies and their intermediaries and will carry cargo on inbound as well as outbound flights.
  • The cargo operations will help the airline earn some revenue at a time there is a ban on passenger flights and the entire fleet is grounded.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

Explained: A new high in MaldivesPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Reclaiming ties with India’s neighborhood in light of China’s increasing interference

  • The Maldives is about to welcome former President Mohamed Nasheed after getting re-elected with huge majority for his party.

Move for Constitutional change

  • The scale of the victory has put Nasheed-Solih in a position to drive decisive change in the Maldives.
  • An executive Presidency is unsuitable for a small country with deeply polarised and fractious politics.
  • Erstwhile regime had used the President’s executive powers to shackle the judiciary, impose an emergency, and muzzle the media.
  • Converting the Presidential form of government into a Parliamentary one is on top of Nasheed’s agenda.

IOR Security

  • Mindful of Chinese assertiveness, and their interlinked security interests in the Indian Ocean Region, New Delhi and Malé have agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region.
  • They will enhance maritime security in the region through coordinated patrolling and aerial surveillance, exchange of information and capacity building.
  • The two sides have also expressed their unwavering commitment and support for increased cooperation in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations both within the region and elsewhere.
  • This is an important commitment, since Maldives has seen the rise of Islamist fundamentalism over the last few years, and it is said to have sent 50-200 fighters to the Islamic State.

Relations with India

  • Maldives is still trying to figure out the contours of the country’s “dire economic situation” created by Chinese debt.
  • After the unfriendly regime, India has come back in the strategic game with Solih’s victory last year.
  • India had announced financial assistance of $1.4 billion for the island nation in December. Chinese loans for projects account for around 70% of the Maldives’ national debt.
  • New Delhi’s economic help outreach is key to helping Male break free of Beijing’s “debt-for-leverage” model of diplomacy.

Easing Cultural contacts

  • A new agreement on visa facilitation is aimed at addressing common concerns and ensuring that people-to-people contacts are enhanced.
  • The Maldives is one of the very few countries with which India has a visa-free travel arrangement.
  • The recently signed pact will allow many Maldivians who send their children to school in India, to accompany them, and will facilitate easier travel for Maldivians to India for medical treatment.
  • The movement of people had become restricted after the Yameen government tightened the visa regime for Indian workers and professionals.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

[op-ed snap] Back on track: On India-Maldives tiesop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SAGAR strategy

Mains level: Reclaiming ties with India’s neighborhood in light of China’s increasing interference.



India and the Maldives appeared to return to the old days of strategic bonhomie when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her counterpart Abdulla Shahid in Male during a brief visit this week.

The significanctimprovement in relationship

  • It is the first full-fledged bilateral visit at the political level from India to the Maldives after the new government assumed office.
  • Mr. Solih’s inauguration, which was marked by the attendance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was assumed to be a potential inflection point in the trajectory of bilateral ties with India.
  • The previous five years witnessed Male’s disconcerting drift, under the aegis of the Abdulla Yameen government, into what many Maldivians felt was the stifling embrace of China.
  • Chinese financing for infrastructure and construction projects poured in even as the functioning of the political Opposition and the judiciary was harshly curtailed.

Way forward for India

  • it would be unwise for New Delhi to take the Indian Ocean nation for granted.
  • In December, when Mr. Solih visited India, a $1.4 billion financial assistance package for the Maldives was announced.
  • While the proximity of the Indian general election may have precluded any major policy announcements from New Delhi, the two countries have agreed to exempt holders of diplomatic and official passports from visa requirements, inked an MoU on Indian grant-in-aid for “high-impact community development projects”, and other agreements on energy efficiency and renewable energy, areas critical to the agenda of Mr. Solih.
  • At a broader level, the archipelago and the larger Indian Ocean region could expect more collaborative approaches on regional maritime security issues, including counterterrorism and trans-national crimes.


  • The massive debts the Maldives incurred, by some estimates to the tune of $3 billion, linked to infrastructure investments need to be unwound.
  • Second, the multiparty alliance must hold firm despite immense political pressures that arise from varying visions for governance.
  • Some tensions already seem to be bubbling to the top: on February 25, Mohamed Nasheed, former President and important coalition-builder in the MDP, tweeted about the country’s Supreme Court “meddling in elections — again”.
  • For genuine peace and bilateral harmony to take root in the region, building a shared vision for the future of the Maldives is the immediate task at hand.


Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

[op-ed snap] Island hoppingop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SAGAR strategy

Mains level: Reclaiming ties with India’s neighborhood in light of China’s increasing interference


Relations improving with the Maldives

  1. In India a month after assuming his new responsibility, the President of the Maldives, Mr. Solih has assured New Delhi that the Maldives is pivoting to the ‘India First’ policy
  2. The five-year-long tenure of his predecessor, Abdulla Yameen, was marked by a serious deterioration in ties with India, as Mr. Yameen steadily took his nation towards authoritarianism and into a close embrace with China
  3. Mr. Solih’s government has adopted a different vision — one anchored in decentralised and people-centric governance
  4. India seems to enjoy a special place in his worldview

Balancing concerns 

  1. The joint statement issued during Mr. Solih’s visit reflects a fine balance between the interests of both countries
  2. To help the Maldives address its budget deficit and development challenges, India has worked out a generous $1.4 billion assistance package
  3. Besides, India has offered visa facilitation that will allow Maldivians to visit India easily (with reciprocal facilities for Indian visitors to the Maldives)
  4. 1,000 “additional” training slots for the next five years
  5. Close cooperation on political and diplomatic issues and support to the Maldives as it seeks to rejoin the Commonwealth and its entry into the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
  6. The visit resulted in the conclusion of four agreements relating to cooperation for information technology, culture, agri-business, and visa arrangements

Equations changing in the neighbourhood

  1. The deliberations in Delhi took place as China’s footprint in South Asia has increased in recent years
  2. There is a growing realisation that owing to Beijing’s strategic objectives, economic capability and assertive diplomacy, it is not feasible for India to supplant China in neighbouring countries
  3. But India has its own advantages, assets and friends
  4. The intention is to leverage them fully, deriving benefit from the neighbours’ essential thirst for maintaining balance in their external relations
  5. The change in the Maldives has been followed by a re-assertion of democratic impulses in Sri Lanka, as symbolised by the return of Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister
  6. India enjoys close relations with Mauritius and Seychelles
  7. A new grouping of India, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Seychelles, focussed on maritime security and economic development, looks attainable in the short term

Way forward

  1. In devising a smart action plan to implement the SAGAR, or Security and Growth for All in the Region, strategy, that was announced by Mr. Modi in March 2015, New Delhi should accord equal importance to its two key goals: address its neighbours’ concerns on security challenges; and harness enticing opportunities for the Blue Economy
  2. Even others such as South Africa, whose President is due to visit India in January next year, and Kenya, much enthused from having hosted recently the first global conference on the sustainable Blue Economy, may be happy to join
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

[op-ed snap] The Maldives Election: A Renewed Chance for India?op-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Recent elections in the Maldives and its impact on India


Change of guard in the Maldives

  1. In the recently held elections in  the Maldives’ Joint Opposition Coalition candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih emerged victorious in the presidential elections
  2. The win came as a surprise both to the opposition in the Maldives and to international observers, as the election was believed to be rigged
  3. In the third multi-party presidential election, democratic values, institutions and the survival of both were at stake
  4. New President-elect Solih is viewed as a clean and efficient lawmaker in the Maldives, where corruption and nepotism remain prominent issues

Why this change is in favour of India?

  1. The overwhelming triumph of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is considered an important strategic victory for India
  2. Within hours of the political upset, Solih had spoken to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and publicly declared that India was the Maldives’s “closest ally”
  3. The outcome is all the sweeter for New Delhi, given that it had resisted calls from exiled Maldivian opposition leaders – and security hawks at home – to intervene militarily in February, after Yameen imposed a state of emergency and rounded up his critics and political rivals
  4. India was under a lot of pressure from the Maldivian opposition – and public opinion at home – for intervention in the Maldives
  5. India’s non-kinetic approach to the Maldives was offset by US and EU  both of whom threatened to put the Maldives under sanctions if the election process was tampered with

New ground of tussle between India & China

  1. The Maldives has emerged as the latest arena for the intensifying geostrategic rivalry between China and India – two Asian giants vying for influence in the Indian Ocean
  2. New Delhi has watched with alarm as Beijing, through its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, has made deep inroads into what India once considered its natural sphere of influence

The strategic importance of Maldives

  1. Despite its small size, the Maldives has an outsized strategic importance for India, given its location astride the sea lanes through which much of India’s shipping cargo passes
  2. The northernmost tip of the Maldives is just 70 nautical miles from the southernmost point of India’s own Lakshadweep archipelago, where the Indian navy has a base
  3. China has this ambition – if it were to turn one of the leased islands into a military base, it would open a maritime front against India and complete India’s strategic encirclement

India-Maldives ties in the recent past

  1. Traditionally, the two countries have had close ties, but relations frayed after 2012, when the Maldives’ first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, was forced out in a coup by the old ruling establishment
  2. Yameen – in power since a controversial 2013 election – paid lip service to ties with India, and in 2016 even agreed to expand maritime security cooperation with New Delhi
  3. But he also forged much stronger ties with Beijing, which built a 2km bridge from the airport to the capital city; forged a free trade deal; and took long-term leases on several small Maldivian islands
  4. Alarm bells rang loud in New Delhi in August 2017 when three Chinese warships docked at a Maldivian port, crossing what New Delhi described as a “red line”, and prompting India to step up its contacts with the Maldivian opposition
  5. Yameen began to edge India out, which became a problem as India found China was trying to take over the southern atolls which are crucial for India’s Indian ocean security
  6. China was trying to take control of the one-and-half degree channel which would allow its submarines unimpeded access into the Indian Ocean
  7. Since the 45-day-state of emergency in February, Yameen’s government became more overtly hostile to India, which had called for free and fair elections to resolve the country’s deepening political crisis
  8. The government in Malé stopped renewing or issuing visas for an estimated 25,000 Indian workers in the Maldives
  9. Joint maritime patrols were cancelled, and Malé asked New Delhi to take back two helicopters – and the 48 Indian pilots and engineers that kept them flying – that had been provided to the country, ostensibly for humanitarian purposes

China’s influence to continue despite new leadership

  1. China will remain an influential player in the Maldives, given its financial leverage over the country. Indian analysts say an estimated 80 per cent of the Maldives’ total debt – equivalent to about 25 per cent of gross domestic product – is owed to China
  2. Although Solih and other opposition leaders have vowed to review contracts with China, analysts say the Maldives may find it hard to wriggle out of even unfavourable commitments made by the previous government
  3. It will not be easy to push aside China’s hard economic power and its “debt-trap” diplomacy

Way forward for India

  1. India has been a timely friend for the Maldives, which is evident from numerous efforts by New Delhi in helping maintain stability in Male
  2. From “Operation Cactus” in 1988 to fending off a severe water crisis in the island nation, India has played the role of a responsible neighbour
  3. It is in India’s interest to continue with such critical engagements and work toward building confidence and assurances to the extent that the Maldives emerges out of its “Big Brother Syndrome”
  4. Moreover, strengthening democratic institutions, infrastructure support, and capacity building should remain India’s priorities in engagement with the Maldives
  5. India should act responsibly by allowing the internal equations in the Maldives to settle first and then engage constructively in the process of restoring democratic institutions
  6. The stable Maldives is essential for a stable neighbourhood across South Asia

Original Article from The Diplomat

The Maldives Election: A Renewed Chance for India?

With inputs from the articles:

India’s influence over Maldives strengthened by new president’s election

Yameen’s loss puts India back in the strategic game in Maldives

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

[op-ed snap] Islands apart: on India-Maldives tiesop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Rising discontent between India & Maldives and need for its early resolution


Soaring ties between India and the Maldives

  1. There has been a series of setbacks in India-Maldives ties, starting from March 2015 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi canceled a visit
  2. Recent moves by Abdulla Yameen, President of the Maldives, have put Malé on a collision course with New Delhi
  3. India criticised the government for its incarceration of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, sentenced to 19 months in prison for an alleged plot to unseat Mr. Yameen

Discontent among partners

  1. The strain is now evident in two areas where India-Maldives ties had been the strongest: strategic relations and people-to-people engagement
  2. The Maldives has conveyed to India that it will not extend beyond June 30 the lease of Indian helicopters or the visas of personnel manning them
  3. This signals a marked downturn in defense cooperation between the two countries, which normally coordinate maritime and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) patrols together
  4. Hundreds of Indians offered employment in the Maldives at resorts, hospitals and colleges have been denied work visas for the past few months

Change in stance

  1. Until a few years ago, the Maldives affirmed an “India First” policy
  2. India’s vocal protests on democratic rights in the Maldives have been at variance with the past policy of taking a more muted line in public while encouraging democracy in official conversations

Way forward

  1. The Yameen government must reconsider these policies
  2. India too must pause to consider why relations have soured so badly
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

[op-ed snap] The game of chicken in the Arabian Seaop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Operation Cactus, geography of the East Indian Ocean.

Mains level: The newscard discusses an offensive show off by the Chinese Navy in Indian Ocean, for baking Abdulla Yameen’s government. And suggests some possible options to Indian government.


What is the issue?

  1. The ongoing crisis in the Maldives has acquired a particularly serious dimension
  2. In that time, several reports have emerged suggesting China may be directly backing Abdulla Yameen’s decision to impose—and extend—the emergency in the small island state
  3. These reports suggest that China has implicitly promised support to Yameen in the event that India moves to forcibly change the political status quo there

Chinese Navy presence in the Indian Ocean

  1. Earlier this month, a Chinese naval surface action group (SAG) of three ships entered the eastern Indian Ocean through the Sunda Straits
  2. The question then is about the timing and intent of the SAG deployment this time around
  3. While there is no definitive way of answering this question, several facts suggest that this is related to the ongoing crisis in the Maldives
  4. In order to stall an Operation Cactus kind-of-operation, China is signalling India that it has the muscle to push Indian forces out of the Maldives if it so chooses.

Why would China choose to signal(through its navy presence in Indian Ocean) that it is not averse to a power-play with India over the Maldives from thousands of miles away?

  1. The answer comes from studying Chinese naval behaviour over the past few years carefully
  2. China has pioneered what Western experts call “grey zone coercion”
  3. It is a strategy by which China seeks to meet its strategic objective without crossing its adversary’s threshold for conventional military retaliation
  4. By choosing to message its resolve to India from a distance, Beijing ensured that India would not be provoked militarily and yet be compelled to take into account the strategic signal emanating from the east

What are India’s options?

  1. India must continue to keep up a robust presence in the Arabian Sea
  2. The Indian Navy must also be allowed to expand its presence operations in the South China Sea, long considered a Chinese preserve
  3. China’s vulnerabilities in its near-seas must be taken advantage of by Indian naval planners
  4. India must have an alternative plan ready for the Maldives, just in case naval posturing does not beget an optimal solution
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

Modi, Trump discuss Maldives; China says in touch with India, don’t want new flashpoint

Image source


Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Maldives (map based)

Mains level: India’s diplomatic stance on various international issues

Concern on the political crisis

  1. India and the US have expressed concern about the “political crisis in the Maldives”
  2. Both underlined “the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law”

India-China in close coordination

  1. Beijing and Delhi were in touch over the ongoing crisis in the Maldives
  2. They did not want it to become another “flashpoint” in bilateral ties

India keeping a close watch

  1. India’s official statement about situation was: “All countries can play a constructive role in the Maldives, instead of doing the opposite”
  2. India was simply indicating that it was closely watching the situation in the Indian Ocean and hoped that all regional powers play a constructive role
  3. The statement also indicated that Delhi is not about to abandon its stake in the neighborhood
  4. India usually declines comment on relations between other countries and thus restrained from giving one such about Maldives-China relations
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

[op-ed snap] Why India should intervene in Maldives


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Operation Cactus

Mains level: Crises in India’s neighbourhood and how to deal with them


Political crisis in the Maldives

  1. The Maldives is in the midst of a deep political crisis
  2. President Abdulla Yameen has declared a state of emergency just days after the Supreme Court of the nation ordered the release of political prisoners
  3. Yameen has not only refused to abide by the orders of the judiciary but has gone ahead and arrested Supreme Court judges and members of the opposition

Previous intervention by India in Maldives?

  1. India has indeed intervened militarily in the Maldives once earlier
  2. It conducted Operation Cactus in 1988
  3. The intervention by Indian paratroopers was at the invitation of the then dictator-president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
  4. He was facing a coup attempt by Sri Lankan mercenaries working for a Maldivian businessman

Should India intervene again to repair the situation in the Maldives?

  1. In the current situation, the demand for Indian intervention is by the opposition forces in the Maldives
  2. But the reasons for India’s intervention today are far more compelling
  3. Ever since Yameen took power in 2013, India-Maldives relations have deteriorated
  4. Yameen has courted Beijing and handed out big infrastructure projects to Chinese companies
  5. He has openly challenged New Delhi by allowing Chinese naval ships to dock in Malé
  6. Yameen’s relations with Saudi Arabia and the growing trend of radicalization in the Maldives are also a cause for concern
  7. If Yameen stays without much alteration in Maldives’ internal balance of power, he will only be emboldened to act further against Indian interests

India’s stand and it’s strategic implications

  1. It might make sense for India to sit out the internal affairs of faraway countries
  2. But to do so in small, neighbouring countries will take away the mantle of regional leadership
  3. India’s interventions in neighbouring countries will please some and alienate some, but that should be an acceptable cost for furthering Indian interests in the region

What other global powers do/are doing?

  1. The plethora of interventions in other countries have earned the US a whole host of enemies but one cannot credibly think of a global superpower staying out of major crises just to earn some goodwill
  2. In recent months, China has helped mount a coup against dictator Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and has brokered an alliance of left parties in Nepal to fight the Nepali Congress, the party in power

Constraints in Indian intervention

  1. India’s first priority is to ensure the safety of Indian tourists and workers in the Maldives
  2. India’s intervention should be surgical, that is, one which makes the Yameen government capitulate without harming the people of Maldives
  3. The use of a blunt instrument like the economic blockade in Nepal in 2015-16 might have temporarily brought the then K.P. Oli government to its knees but it also generated a backlash against India in Nepal’s hilly areas
  4. The choice of instrument should be such that it doesn’t make India a long-term participant in the partisan domestic affairs of Maldives

Way forward

  1. New Delhi should remember that if one petty dictator in the region is allowed to go scot-free after harming India’s interests, there will be more of them in future
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

[op-ed snap] Island hoppingop-ed snap

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Geographical Position of Maldives in the South Asia

Mains level: Concerns and worries discussed in the newscard


China’s diplomatic success in the South Asia

  1. The announcement of a free trade agreement between the Maldives and China is another sign of China’s success in its outreach in South Asia
  2. China already has an FTA with Pakistan, and is exploring or negotiating FTAs with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal
  3. The negotiations with the Maldives took about three years and were completed in September this year and it was ratified overnight by Parliament in Male

India’s reaction on the Madives-China FTA

  1. India has made no public statement
  2. It has reportedly made its displeasure known, particularly on the speed and stealth with which the negotiations were completed

The rapid growth in China-Maldives ties

  1. The growth is driven by massive infrastructure projects, including the development of Hulhule island and the “Friendship” bridge connecting it to Male
  2. Apart from investments of $1 billion, Chinese companies are exploring tourism prospects in the Maldives, leases to resort islands, and reclamation projects

Worries for India

  1. The Maldives government also said this week that it is not satisfied with the working of the FTA with India
  2. The manner in which the FTA was rushed through Parliament, with opposition members complaining they had not received enough notice, suggests a haste that would naturally worry India
  3. The move also shows that the Yameen government is not inclined to pay much heed to international concerns over internal unrest
  4. The biggest worry for India is that the FTA will draw the Maldives more closely into China’s security net
  5. Although Maldivian government has categorically stated that the Maldives will remain a “demilitarised zone”
  6. But there are concerns that the PLA-Navy might be looking for a military base in the islands linked to projects in Djibouti, Gwadar and Hambantota


Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

New Delhi caught by surprise as Maldives seals FTA with China


Mains Paper 2 | Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: FTA

Mains level: The news card talks about the China-Maldives FTA



Maldives-China FTA

    1. In a sudden move that has sent alarm bells ringing in New Delhi, Maldives rammed through its Free Trade Agreement with China in the Maldivian parliament last night in a session attended by only 30 out of 85 members
  • The haste with which the government, led by President Abdulla Yameen, decided to pass the pact the session took barely half an hour is being perceived here as Male trying to cosy up to China.
  1. This is Maldives’s first FTA with any country, and China’s second FTA with any country in South Asia after Pakistan.
  2. There are concerns that it could lead to increased Chinese military presence in the island nation.


  1. This comes in the backdrop of Yameen planning to visit Beijing in December.
  2. This will be a reciprocal visit after the first-ever visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping to Maldives in September 2014.
  3. Maldives is the only country in the neighbourhood which has not been visited by Prime Minister in the last three-and-half years after he cancelled a proposed trip in March 2015 due to the turbulent political situation.
  4. Maldives and India do not have a Free Trade Agreement.

Views of Maldives Government

  1. According to the Maldives Presidential office’s statement, the FTA will enable exemption of duties on fisheries products exported to the world’s largest consumer market.
  2. Maldives transitioned from Least Developed Country (LDC) to Middle-Income Country status on 1st January 2011.
  3. However, this growth was accompanied with huge duties levied on fish products exported to the international market,” the statement said.
  4. Also, Maldivian government has extended invitations to establish free trade agreements with countries including Japan, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and countries of the European Union.
  5. However, it doesn’t name India.

Views of Maldivian Opposition

  1. Criticizing the FTA with China, Opposition leader emphasized that such an agreement will be detrimental to our economy as balance of trade is greatly in favor of China.
  2. Also, the FTA cannot be implemented until the legislation is passed.
  3. The Opposition demanded that the implementation of the FTA with China should be suspended till a proper feasibility study is conducted.



Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

Maldives opposition forms shadow govt. in London; seeks help from India

  1. Context: A new multi-party opposition platform was launched in London that pledged to lead the fight for the restoration of democracy in the Maldives
  2. Maldives United Opposition: Former Vice-President of the Maldives, now living in exile in the United Kingdom, Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed will head the Shadow Cabinet of the newly formed opposition
  3. Mr. Nasheed: The first democratically elected leader of the Maldives who was recently given political asylum in the UK, chose to take a back seat in the Shadow Cabinet with the post of Advisor
  4. India: One of the first tasks of the new party would be to formally seek recognition and assistance for their cause from India
  5. China: The Maldivian opposition has been critical of the growing economic footprint of China in the Maldives
  6. Opposition believes that Mr. Yameen has encouraged China to counter India’s influence in the Indian Ocean region
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

U.K. grants refugee status to Nasheed

  1. Refuge: The former Maldives President Mohamad Nasheed has been granted refugee status by the United Kingdom
  2. Background: Nasheed was the first democratically elected head of state of Maldives
  3. He was convicted and jailed in the Maldives in 2015 after a trial
  4. The trial attracted international criticism, including from the United Nations Group on Arbitrary Detention
  5. Let go: He was allowed to travel to London for medical treatment by the Govt of President Abdulla Yameen in January 2016
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

Maldives thanks India for support

  1. News: Abdullah Yameen has thanked India for “protecting” Maldives from possible punitive actions from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG)
  2. Reason: In Nov 2015, Yameen declared national emergency ahead of a big wave of protests against his political opponents
  3. CMAG had been asking Maldives to move towards genuine democracy
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

India may sign pact against terror with the Maldives-

  1. Context: Maldives President Abdullah Yameen’s forthcoming visit to India
  2. News: A crucial counter-terror pact is likely to be among the list of agreements between the two countries
  3. Reason: Maldives has been seeking regional support to deal with extremism as 40 of its citizens are fighting for IS
  4. Both sides are also working on an agreement on double taxation avoidance in the field of international air transport
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

Democracy suspended in the Maldives

President Abdulla Yameen declared a state of emergency in the Maldives citing danger to the lives of the citizens and threat to national security.

  1. The emergency measures effectively snatches away the freedoms that followed the August 2008 Constitution.
  2. The Emergency was imposed to pre-empt a mass rally by the main Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, which could have negatively impacted the law and order situation.
  3. Critics point that the emergency is one of the tool in the hands of the Maldivian govt. to crack down on political opponents.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

India, Maldives to step up cooperation in defence, security

Both countries decided to ramp up cooperation in various fields including defence, security, energy and health.

  1. MoUs on cooperation between Foreign Service Institutes of both countries and for cooperation sports and youth affairs.
  2. Maldives has supported India for a permanent member of a reformed and expanded UN Security Council.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

Maldives assures India of keeping the Indian Ocean a demilitarized zone

The assurance comes in the backdrop of Maldivian Parliament’s approval to allow foreign ownership of its islands.

  1. The obvious beneficiary of this move will be China which can acquire islands and atolls in the Maldives.
  2. It will also give a huge boost to the Chinese Maritime Silk Road initiative.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Maldives

Maldives’ political crisis

  1. March ’15 – Former president Mohamed Nasheed is jailed for 13 years after being found guilty on terrorism charges.
  2. Nasheed is the country’s first democratically elected president after 30 years of autocracy.
  3. The verdict, which his party says is politically motivated, elicits international concern from governments and rights groups.
  4. With Nasheed’s (more pro-India than the Yameen government) arrest, India risks having the Maldives slip out of its strategic area of influence entirely.

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