08-14-2022     3 رجب 1440

Maldives President Visit : It is Rightly ‘India First’!

South Block is asserting that Maldives, though the smallest country in Asia, is India’s key neighbour and is known as the tollgateof the Indian Ocean

August 06, 2022 | Prof D K Giri

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s four-day visit to India marks a turning point in South Asian politics as China meddles in it, and internal rebellion in countries such as Sri Lanka, poses a potential threat of spreading to other countries in the region. The visit, which began this Monday, is hailed by both sides as manifestation of their respective friendly foreign policies towards each other. For Maldives, it is ‘India First’ and for India, itis ‘Neighbourhood First’. Both the strategies claim to work in tandem to tackle shared concerns and promote mutual interests.

The second important backdrop to this visit consists of the ‘leadership tension’ between President Solih and the Speaker and former President Mohamed Nasheed. In fact, Solih’s visit takes place in the face of a number of controversies raging back home, involving a delicate balance between his former friend Nasheed as well as religious extremist parties in his ruling coalition. Recall, angry youth had this June disrupted the yoga event held at a stadium in Male organised by the Indian High Commission, calling it ‘un-Islamic’.
A serious confrontation is afoot in Male as a no-confidence motion is sought to be moved against Speaker Nasheed by those protesting against the arrest of Nazin Abdul Sattar, an attorney and a brother. Nasheed claims the arrest as well as the no-confidence vote ‘would benefit radical elements in the country’. He added, “Splitting the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) by ousting the Speaker will push Maldives in a xenophobic and religious extremist direction, while strengthening the hands of those behind ‘India out’ campaign.”The Government of India, however, is quiet on the internal tension.
South Block is asserting that Maldives, though the smallest country in Asia, is India’s key neighbour and is known as the toll gate of the Indian Ocean. Maldives straddles a 960-km-long undersea ridge stretching North to South and forming a wall in the Indian Ocean. Though small in size, the geo-strategic importance of the Island nation is significant. India and Maldives relations consist of sharing ethnic, cultural, linguistic and commercial ties and New Delhi was among the first countries to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965, and establish its mission at Male in 1972.
Notably, India’s relations with Maldives have been multi-dimensional, largely cordial and cooperative. However, these were deeply strained under Maldives’s pro-China ex-President Abdullah Yameen, who spearheaded the ‘India Out’ campaign. In recent years, both sides assert that the partnership has witnessed rapid growth in most areas of cooperation, especially in the field of development. New Delhi has already given the island nation development project totalling over 1.2 billion USD for the upgradation of infrastructure and is engaged in additional 45 infrastructure development projects. This visit is supposed to lend a fresh momentum to the bilateral relations, tightening geo-political, security, and economic ties.
A tweet from Ministry of External Affairs characterises and sums up the relationship. It reads: “A warm welcome to a close friend and a maritime neighbour. Ibrahim Mohmad Solih’s official visit to India provides an opportunity to nurture the unwavering friendship between our two countries and will lend further momentum to the multifaceted partnership.”
As India declares that Maldives has always been a close and significant maritime neighbour, New Delhi has extended timely help to it. President Solih acknowledged India’s contribution to the development and stability of the island nation and highlighted the positive role in his country’s affairs in the past two years. In particular, he thanked the Indian government for helping out in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic and the supply of vaccines. Notably, India has extended a further support of 100 billion USD as line of credit for augmenting the development activities and decided to support in 2020, implementation of Greater Male Connectivity Project in Maldives.
President Solih announced that the Male connectivity projects will be completed under India’s 100 million USD grant and 400 million USD line of credit from the US. Addressing the media, Solih said: “Maldives-India relationship goes beyond diplomacy. This visit is an affirmation for the close bond between our two countries”.
Both the countries inked six agreements in various areas and issued a joint statement, which significantly reiterated that both countries would not allow their territories to be used against the other. It said, “this partnership is a force of stability in the Indian Ocean region.” They recognised that the securities of both countries are inter-dependent and reassured each other to be mindful of respective concerns of security and stability of the region. The six pacts are expected to facilitate cooperation in capacity building, cyber security, housing, disaster management and infrastructure development in Maldives.
In order to counter transnational crimes and terrorism in the Indian Ocean region, both signed a cyber security agreement, wherein Prime Minister Modi said, “chances of terrorism, drug trafficking and trans-national crimes are high in the Indian Ocean region. We have, therefore, decided to increase cooperation in this field, which will include training and capacity building of the security officials in Maldives.”
On surveillance, India announced to provide Landing Craft Assault (LCA) to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and another warship to replace CGS Hurabee, a naval patrol vessel gifted in 2006. It will also provide 24 utility vehicles to MNDF. Another agreement is to design and construct 61 police infrastructures across Maldives. Remember, that India had built a National College for Policing and Law Enforcement (NCPLE) in Addu city, which was inaugurated by EAM S Jaishankar on his earlier visit this year.
Further, New Delhi has been supporting construction of social housing units in Maldives. In a media statement, Modi said, “We reviewed projects for the construction of 4000 social housing units in Greater Male. I am happy to announce that we will additionally provide financial support for 2000 social housing units.”
Although politics and politicians change, the assurance given by Ibrahim Solih is heartening for India, that aspires to a big-power status. Before doing so, New Delhi has to carry its neighbours in trust and confidence. Solih said, “Maldives will remain a true friend of India… India has always been a reliable ally to Maldives through thick and thin.”He added, “India is almost all ways, our first responder in times of crises, and is amongst the loudest supporters in times of good fortune”.
The height of his acknowledgement of friendship with India was when he said, “It is during my Administration thus far, that we have reached the pinnacle of our diplomatic and economic relations.” He affirmed, “On our part, our relations with India will always be of highest priority.” New Delhi should reciprocate such confidence of her smaller neighbours.

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Maldives President Visit : It is Rightly ‘India First’!

South Block is asserting that Maldives, though the smallest country in Asia, is India’s key neighbour and is known as the tollgateof the Indian Ocean

August 06, 2022 | Prof D K Giri

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s four-day visit to India marks a turning point in South Asian politics as China meddles in it, and internal rebellion in countries such as Sri Lanka, poses a potential threat of spreading to other countries in the region. The visit, which began this Monday, is hailed by both sides as manifestation of their respective friendly foreign policies towards each other. For Maldives, it is ‘India First’ and for India, itis ‘Neighbourhood First’. Both the strategies claim to work in tandem to tackle shared concerns and promote mutual interests.

The second important backdrop to this visit consists of the ‘leadership tension’ between President Solih and the Speaker and former President Mohamed Nasheed. In fact, Solih’s visit takes place in the face of a number of controversies raging back home, involving a delicate balance between his former friend Nasheed as well as religious extremist parties in his ruling coalition. Recall, angry youth had this June disrupted the yoga event held at a stadium in Male organised by the Indian High Commission, calling it ‘un-Islamic’.
A serious confrontation is afoot in Male as a no-confidence motion is sought to be moved against Speaker Nasheed by those protesting against the arrest of Nazin Abdul Sattar, an attorney and a brother. Nasheed claims the arrest as well as the no-confidence vote ‘would benefit radical elements in the country’. He added, “Splitting the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) by ousting the Speaker will push Maldives in a xenophobic and religious extremist direction, while strengthening the hands of those behind ‘India out’ campaign.”The Government of India, however, is quiet on the internal tension.
South Block is asserting that Maldives, though the smallest country in Asia, is India’s key neighbour and is known as the toll gate of the Indian Ocean. Maldives straddles a 960-km-long undersea ridge stretching North to South and forming a wall in the Indian Ocean. Though small in size, the geo-strategic importance of the Island nation is significant. India and Maldives relations consist of sharing ethnic, cultural, linguistic and commercial ties and New Delhi was among the first countries to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965, and establish its mission at Male in 1972.
Notably, India’s relations with Maldives have been multi-dimensional, largely cordial and cooperative. However, these were deeply strained under Maldives’s pro-China ex-President Abdullah Yameen, who spearheaded the ‘India Out’ campaign. In recent years, both sides assert that the partnership has witnessed rapid growth in most areas of cooperation, especially in the field of development. New Delhi has already given the island nation development project totalling over 1.2 billion USD for the upgradation of infrastructure and is engaged in additional 45 infrastructure development projects. This visit is supposed to lend a fresh momentum to the bilateral relations, tightening geo-political, security, and economic ties.
A tweet from Ministry of External Affairs characterises and sums up the relationship. It reads: “A warm welcome to a close friend and a maritime neighbour. Ibrahim Mohmad Solih’s official visit to India provides an opportunity to nurture the unwavering friendship between our two countries and will lend further momentum to the multifaceted partnership.”
As India declares that Maldives has always been a close and significant maritime neighbour, New Delhi has extended timely help to it. President Solih acknowledged India’s contribution to the development and stability of the island nation and highlighted the positive role in his country’s affairs in the past two years. In particular, he thanked the Indian government for helping out in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic and the supply of vaccines. Notably, India has extended a further support of 100 billion USD as line of credit for augmenting the development activities and decided to support in 2020, implementation of Greater Male Connectivity Project in Maldives.
President Solih announced that the Male connectivity projects will be completed under India’s 100 million USD grant and 400 million USD line of credit from the US. Addressing the media, Solih said: “Maldives-India relationship goes beyond diplomacy. This visit is an affirmation for the close bond between our two countries”.
Both the countries inked six agreements in various areas and issued a joint statement, which significantly reiterated that both countries would not allow their territories to be used against the other. It said, “this partnership is a force of stability in the Indian Ocean region.” They recognised that the securities of both countries are inter-dependent and reassured each other to be mindful of respective concerns of security and stability of the region. The six pacts are expected to facilitate cooperation in capacity building, cyber security, housing, disaster management and infrastructure development in Maldives.
In order to counter transnational crimes and terrorism in the Indian Ocean region, both signed a cyber security agreement, wherein Prime Minister Modi said, “chances of terrorism, drug trafficking and trans-national crimes are high in the Indian Ocean region. We have, therefore, decided to increase cooperation in this field, which will include training and capacity building of the security officials in Maldives.”
On surveillance, India announced to provide Landing Craft Assault (LCA) to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and another warship to replace CGS Hurabee, a naval patrol vessel gifted in 2006. It will also provide 24 utility vehicles to MNDF. Another agreement is to design and construct 61 police infrastructures across Maldives. Remember, that India had built a National College for Policing and Law Enforcement (NCPLE) in Addu city, which was inaugurated by EAM S Jaishankar on his earlier visit this year.
Further, New Delhi has been supporting construction of social housing units in Maldives. In a media statement, Modi said, “We reviewed projects for the construction of 4000 social housing units in Greater Male. I am happy to announce that we will additionally provide financial support for 2000 social housing units.”
Although politics and politicians change, the assurance given by Ibrahim Solih is heartening for India, that aspires to a big-power status. Before doing so, New Delhi has to carry its neighbours in trust and confidence. Solih said, “Maldives will remain a true friend of India… India has always been a reliable ally to Maldives through thick and thin.”He added, “India is almost all ways, our first responder in times of crises, and is amongst the loudest supporters in times of good fortune”.
The height of his acknowledgement of friendship with India was when he said, “It is during my Administration thus far, that we have reached the pinnacle of our diplomatic and economic relations.” He affirmed, “On our part, our relations with India will always be of highest priority.” New Delhi should reciprocate such confidence of her smaller neighbours.


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Owner, Printer, Publisher, Editor: Farooq Ahmad Wani
Legal Advisor: M.J. Hubi
Printed at: Abid Enterprizes, Zainkote Srinagar
Published from: Gulshanabad Chraresharief Budgam
RNI No.: JKENG/2010/33802
Office No’s: 0194-2451076, 9622924716 , 9419400056
Postal Regd No: SK/135/2010-2019
Administrative Office: Abi Guzer Srinagar

© Copyright 2018 brighterkashmir.com All Rights Reserved.