India Maldives Relations 2023

india maldives relations


The Maldives, which are in the Indian Ocean to the south of India, recently elected a pro-China candidate as their president, which has reportedly caused India some anxiety recently. The Maldives historically had an Executive Presidency system that changed to a multi-party democracy in 2008. Since then, no president who is currently in office has been re-elected, which is worrying for India this time.

How are the India Maldives relations?

  • Economic Cooperation
    • The Maldives’ economy is based mostly on tourism. For some Indians, the nation is now a top vacation spot, while for others it is a place to find employment.
    • An Indian company named Afcons secured a contract in August 2021 for the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP), the greatest infrastructure undertaking the Maldives has ever seen.
    • In 2021, India became the third-largest trading partner of the Maldives.
    • The Maldives Monetary Authority and RBI inked a bilateral USD currency swap agreement on July 22, 2019.
    • When the Maldives signed a Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) with China in 2017, the India-Maldives relationship suffered a blow.
  • Security Partnership
    • Defense cooperation also includes “Ekuverin,” “Dosti,” “Ekatha,” and “Operation Shield” (which started in 2021).
    • For the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF), India offers the most training possibilities, covering over 70% of their needs in this area.
  • Rehabilitation Centre
    • Contract signing for the Addu beach protection and reclamation project.
    • A drug detox and treatment facility in Addu was constructed with Indian aid.
    • The center is one of 20 high-impact community development initiatives that India is putting into place in sectors including healthcare, education, fisheries, tourism, sports, and culture.
  • Infrastructure Projects
    • In accordance with an Indian credit line, the Hanimaadhoo International Airport Development Project will install a brand-new terminal to accommodate 1.3 million people annually.
    • The Minister for External Affairs of India officially opened the National College for Policing and Law Enforcement (NCPLE) in 2022.
    • The biggest grant initiative that India has carried out in the Maldives is NCPLE.

Also Read: India US Relations 2023

What is the Issue of China in India Maldives Relations?

  • Chinese Infrastructure Investments
    • Like many other nations in the Indian Ocean, China has made infrastructural investments in the Maldives.
    • Maldives has received significant Chinese investment and joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). As part of the “String of the Pearls” effort, China sponsored and constructed a number of projects in the Maldives, including the building of ports, airports, bridges, and other crucial infrastructure.
  • India’s Concerns
    • China’s expanding influence in the Indian Ocean area, notably in nations like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and the Maldives, has alarmed India. India’s strategic interests and regional security have been viewed as being threatened by the expansion of Chinese-controlled ports and military infrastructure in these regions.
  • India’s Countermeasures
    • In response, India has increased diplomatic and strategic ties with the Maldives and other countries in the Indian Ocean. To increase its influence in the region, it has invested in infrastructure projects, offered economic support, and increased defense collaboration.
    • The “Neighborhood First” strategy of India seeks to counteract China’s expanding influence.
  • Political Developments
    • The Maldives’ foreign policy has shifted back towards India after the inauguration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in 2018, who is perceived as being more pro-India. While preserving long-standing connections with India, Solih’s administration has attempted to strike a balance between relations with China and India.
  • Strategic Importance
    • The Maldives continue to be strategically important for both China and India due to their placement in the Indian Ocean along important maritime routes. As a result, both nations will probably keep a close eye on events in the Maldives and compete for influence there.

Way Forward for India Maldives Relations

  • In order to maintain regional security in South Asia and along the surrounding maritime borders, India must play a significant role in the Indo-Pacific security arena.
  • In reaction to the expansion of extra-regional powers (especially China’s) in India’s maritime sphere of influence, the Indo-Pacific security space has been created.
  • The Indian government cannot assume that the small populace that currently supports the “India Out” campaign will continue to do so.
  • The internal political climate in the Maldives may cause waves in India’s existing positive relationship with the nation if the concerns highlighted by the ‘India Out’ advocates are not handled correctly.
  • In keeping with its long-standing record of supporting a multipolar, rule-based international order with regard to its neighbors, India should take a conciliatory attitude.
  • Project Mausam ought to provide the Maldives enough room to gain from it and increase its reliance on Indian infrastructure and the economy.


India Maldives relations present a complex blend of economic cooperation, security partnership, and regional geopolitics. While economic ties have strengthened, concerns over China’s influence in the Maldives have prompted India to enhance its strategic engagement and infrastructure investments. President Solih’s pro-India stance has contributed to improved relations, but both nations will continue to vie for influence. India must play a pivotal role in maintaining regional security and addressing domestic concerns, embracing a conciliatory approach and leveraging initiatives like Project Mausam to bolster the partnership.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

  1. How are India Maldives relations?

    A sea boundary separates India and the Maldives as neighbors. In terms of strategic, economic, and military collaboration, relations have been cordial and tight.

  2. Who is the best friend of Maldives?

    India and Sri Lanka, two nations with whom it shares a lot of cultural similarities, are particularly friendly with the Maldives.

  3. Is India Maldives largest trading partner?

    India is now the Maldives’ second-largest commercial partner after falling to fourth place in 2018. In 2021, bilateral commerce increased by 31% over the previous year, overcoming hurdles brought on by the epidemic.

  4. Do Indians need a passport for Maldives?

    Yes, all citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least six months to enter the Maldives. All travelers who arrive with appropriate travel documents are automatically given complimentary 30-day tourist visas.


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