News-CRUX-10     28th October 2023        

Context: Recently, President-elect Mohamed Muizzu stated in an interview that Maldives has initiated negotiations with India to discuss the removal of its military presence.

  • Around 70 Indian military personnel maintain New Delhi sponsored radar stations and surveillance aircraft. 
  • Indian warships help patrol Maldives' exclusive economic zone.

India Maldives Relations

  • India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious, and commercial ties, fostering close, cordial, and multi-dimensional relations.
  • In 1965, India was one of the first countries to acknowledge Maldives' independence and establish diplomatic relations.
  • India's strategic significance in Maldives is widely acknowledged, with India serving as a prominent security provider.
  • The Government of Maldives has officially embraced the 'India First' policy.
  • Collaboration spans various domains such as Cybersecurity, Capacity Building, Housing, Disaster Management, and Infrastructure Development.
  • Bilateral engagements gained momentum in the late 1980s when India initiated 'Operation Cactus' to thwart a coup in Maldives.

Importance of Maldives for India

  • India's West Coast: Maldives is located just 70 nautical miles away from Minicoy and 300 nautical miles away from India's west coast.
  • Strategic Position in Commercial Sea-Lanes: It serves as a strategic hub for commercial sea-lanes in the Indian Ocean, particularly at the 8° N and 1 ½° N channels.
  • Location Between Busy Trade Routes: Maldives is positioned between the world's busiest trade routes, including the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal.
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