April 1, 2023

General Studies Paper 2


  • The External Affairs Minister (EAM) of India visited Maldives when the presidential election in Maldives is around the corner.


  • The incumbent president’s (Solih) announcement to run for a second term, has been opposed within his party by former president and leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Mohamed Nasheed.
  • Though Solih’s foreign policy expressly roots for “India First”, he is also careful about not alienating China.
  • Yameen had a pro-China tilt and has run an anti-India campaign(‘India Out’ campaign recently) alleging that the MDP government has sold out to India and permitted Indian troops to be based on Maldivian soil.

What happened during the EAM’s visit?

  • Inaugurated an international airport developed by India ($ 136.6-million) at Hanimadhoo in Haaa Dahaalu atoll.
    • This is India’s second largest infrastructure project after the ($500 million) Greater Male Connectivity project, which aims to connect the Maldives capital to three neighbouring highlands.
    • Both are prestige projects for Delhi that compete in scale with the Chinese-built Male-Hulumale-Hulhule bridge and the Hulumale airport.
  • Inaugurated an India-funded community centre In the Foakaidhoo island in the nearby Shaviyani atoll.
  • Handed over two sea ambulances to the Maldives Defence Ministry.
  • In the Manadhoo island of Noonu atoll, the two sides signed three MoUs, including –
    • A proposed collaboration between Cochin University and the Maldives National University, and
    • A $100 million grant for “high impact community development” projects.
  • The focus of the discussion was on development cooperation, capacity building and people-to-people ties.

Significance of Maldives for India:

  • A country crucial to India’s interests in the Indian Ocean.
  • In the past five years, Delhi’s Neighbourhood First and SAGAR(Security and Growth for All in the Region) policies have found expression in the improvement of ties.
  • Maldives is part of the India-driven Colombo Security Conclave.

 India’s message to Maldives:

  • India is a committed partner in the Maldives’s journey of progress and transformation.
  • The “new disruptions” in the current geopolitics has made the collaboration even more important.
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