In the Maldivian presidential election, Mohamed Muijju received 54% of the vote. The elections were conducted by the Muijju People’s National Congress and its coalition partner the Progressive Party of Maldives. Muijju promised to withdraw Indian troops from Maldives and balance the country’s trade relations. However, the original title ‘India Out’ was popularized by the former President of Maldives, Abdullah Yameen. This slogan was only suitable for politicians, but India-Maldives have deep ties. India has always sought good relations with Maldives for mutual benefit. India aims to enhance mutual benefits. News about Maldives Voyage.
In November 2021, the Maldives National Defense Force said 75 troops of Indian military personnel were deployed in the Maldives to assist in the operation of the Dornier Air Base and two helicopters donated by the Government of India. This presence, though small, was termed by some politicians as a ‘threat’ to Maldivian security. In 2021, India provided $50 million in military aid to the Maldives. This money was given for the construction and maintenance of a naval port in the Maldives. Foreign Minister of India for the construction of a naval port on the coast of Uthuru Thila Falhu. S Jaishankar and Maldivian Defense Minister Maria Didi signed the agreement At the time, Didi said the agreement would be “another important milestone” in the port and dockyard’s bilateral defense cooperation. Therefore, removing the Indian military presence from the Maldives could be the first order of business for President-elect of the Maldives, Mohammad Muijju.
After the election victory, Muijju said that the people of Maldives have decided that they do not want Indian troops in the country. However, the current President Ibrahim Mohammad Solih was committed to the ‘Undaya Fast’ policy. India’s approach to Maldives was recently disclosed by the spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi. At the press conference, he said, Maldives needs to work closely with regional security challenges. (India’s) partnership with Maldives has always been about capacity building, working together to address security challenges priorities.
Indian military presence in the atoll state of the Maldives includes two Dhruva Advanced Light Helicopters operating in Male. However, the condition of the Maldives National Defense Force was that it would function under the command and control of the MNDF and India would bear running costs. Since then the Indian Ocean Economic Zone has been assisting India and the Maldives in joint surveillance activities.
The larger view is that India has provided training opportunities to the largest number of members of the National Defense Force. India is meeting about 70 percent of their defense training requirements. India has trained more than 1500 MNDF personnel in the last 10 years. China’s view on Maldives is different, their only interest is to infiltrate Maldives for its own benefit.
Primary among the countries that have partnerships in the Maldives are China and India Apart from this, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are also interested in the island nation. China’s primary goal was to get them on board the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Former President Yameen was interested in this matter. The Maldives’ strategic maritime location benefits Beijing. China is undertaking infrastructure projects and making significant economic investments in the Indian Ocean region as part of the BRI.
Unlike China, India has always helped Maldives cover its budget deficit through low-interest loans and currency swaps. India’s financial assistance to Maldives has been working on some important infrastructure projects over the years. In November 2022, India transferred USD 100 million to Maldives to ease the country’s financial challenges. If the new Maldivian government signs a comprehensive free trade agreement with China, it will increase the risk of the country surrendering its sovereignty. India’s presence and cooperation with Maldives is always for mutual benefit.
Muijju will take oath on November 17 and is likely to fulfill his promise to ‘out’ the Indian military. However, he has the power to adopt a more cautious policy as any change in foreign policy in the Indian Ocean island states could have unintended consequences. As Maldives looks at debt servicing challenges, a nuanced foreign policy could be more beneficial for the island nation.