New Development in India - Maldives Relation

New Development in India - Maldives Relation

The newly elected government in the Maldives, led by Ibrahim Mohammed Soli, is positive about improving relations with India.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Maldives for the swearing-in of Ibrahim Mohammed Soli. Two things are clear in the joint statement issued after the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ibrahim Mohammed Soli. One is the need to maintain peace and security in the Indian Ocean. Secondly, it is important for India and the Maldives to take care of each other's concerns and aspirations.

During his meeting with Modi, Soli hoped for help in meeting the housing and infrastructure needs as well as setting up the water supply and sewerage systems in remote islands.

In response to Modi's visit, the new Maldivian President will arrive in India on December 17 as the next step in improving India-Maldives relations. Earlier, some Maldivian ministers and officials visited India. They included Foreign Minister Abdullah Shaheed, Finance Minister Ibrahim Amir, Economic Development Minister Fayyaz Ismail, Minister of State for External Affairs Ahmed Khalil and Foreign Secretary Abdul Gafoor Mohammed.

Signs of a new beginning are emerging in India-Maldives. Following the visit of the Maldivian Foreign Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that "India attaches great importance to its relations with the Maldives which are marked by trust, transparency, mutual understanding and sensitivity." In response, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, "We are ready to fully support the Maldivian government in its socio-economic development in line with India's 'Neighborhood First' policy." Maldives Foreign Minister Mr. Abdulla Shahid also recapitulate and echo his government's 'India First' policy and overwhelmingly expressed his aspiration to forge new diplomatic ties with the Indian government.

As a result of this meeting, the Ministers of both the countries are scheduled to meet in December 2018 on defense and security cooperation. Also, the Maldives has requested a Dornier aircraft from India and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has promised to deliver it soon.

These developments between the two nations are significant today. Because under former President Abdulla Yameen's government, the Maldives seemed to be leaning toward China. For example, the Maldivian government introduced a new law allowing developers to use the islands for a period of 99 years. Subsequently, a Chinese company paid ४० 4 million to take control of Malaya and the refugee island of Fayedhu Finolu near its international airport.

The current finance minister has also pointed out that China is running most of these projects at inflated prices. But many of these projects have been completed, which means they are in the process of being legislated by China. But the new government in the Maldives is reviewing every project that is incomplete. For example, the construction of the Malay Hospital project in China has already cost 140 million, while the estimated cost is only ४ 54 million.

Both the Maldives and China ratified the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), much to India's surprise. This is going to have long-term consequences for India. In addition to political concerns, India fears that Chinese shipments to the Maldives could reach India.

The negative impact of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China is also huge. Mohammed Nasheed, a former Maldivian president and adviser to Soli, recently stated that there is a huge imbalance in trade and that a free trade agreement is a unilateral arrangement.

A total of 400 million was spent on building a bridge connecting Malaya and the airport, and a lot of money was spent on infrastructure such as airport development. Despite spending about 830 million, Chinese companies have made extraordinary profits. Beijing is concerned that the Maldives will show some agreements as a waste basket.

Although the economic factors in the relationship between the two countries are important to Beijing, the geographical location of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean is more beneficial to them. The Maldives has praised China's Belt and Rod Initiative (BRI) and ratified a memorandum of understanding on the Sea Silk Road. Therefore, Beijing feels that it has made a significant impact on important real estate in the Indian Ocean.

India's influence over the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius, as well as several islands in the Indian Ocean, has become a problem for China. India serves as an informal security provider for these countries, as well as providing patrol equipment, helicopters and military training. So it is understandable what interest China has in the Maldives. Beijing is trying to take advantage of the economic temptation in Malaya and give India a leg up.

With the new government in the island nation of Maldives, it is in India that New Delhi and Malayalee will begin to rectify the mistakes made by the previous government. Both Modi and Sushma Swaraj, as well as Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, have pledged significant assistance in boosting the partnership between the two countries to save the Maldives from falling into China's debt trap.

However, Hade, like India's relations with other smaller neighbors, is an important issue. India is competing with China in a number of projects, and India's success will be judged on China's success.

The politics of neighboring countries like Sri Lanka and the Maldives have changed for the better for India. But the question is whether New Delhi can provide the same financial and infrastructure facilities as China. In the case of smaller neighbors, India needs to be more liberal, sticking to its own Gujral doctrine will also help boost confidence. In the case of the Maldives, this is a good opportunity to show India that we can learn from our past mistakes.

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