India-Maldives Relations

Context- The article discusses the deep-rooted relationship between India and Maldives,
highlighting the historical, economic, and strategic connections. It mentions challenges faced by
Maldives like religious extremism and governance issues and emphasizes India’s consistent
How are the geographical and social aspects of Maldives characterized?

  • Maldives consists of over 1,200 islands.
  • It covers 90,000 sq km, of which 99.6% is the sea.
  • India, its closest neighbour, is 70 nautical miles away.
    Social Aspects
  • Maldives boasts a high literacy rate of 98%.
  • The constitution permits only Sunni Muslims to be citizens.
  • The nation faces challenges like growing religious extremism, drug abuse, and patronage
  • There’s a concern about the increasing trend of religious extremism.
    What is the significance of India and Maldives’ relationship?
    Significance for India
  • Maritime Security: Maldives provides a strategic position against threats like piracy and
    terrorism on the high seas.
  • Economic Interaction: India has been a steadfast economic partner to Maldives. The
    State Bank of India has been pivotal in developing Maldives’ tourist economy and is the
    largest bank there.
  • Defensive Partnerships: Through defense cooperation, such as joint exercises like
    Ekuverin and Ekatha, India fortifies its regional stability and power.
  • Humanitarian Role: By being the first responder in crises, India fortifies a positive and
    protective image in the region.
    Significance for Maldives
  • Resource Provider: India supplies Maldives with essential items, including food staples
    and construction materials, stabilizing the island nation’s resources.
  • Socioeconomic Support: Indian professionals, especially teachers and doctors, have a
    pivotal role in Maldivian society, contributing to education and health.
  • Security and Safety: India has proven to be a reliable ally in crises, such as coups and
    natural disasters, ensuring Maldives’ national security.
  • Economic Development: India invests in key infrastructural projects like the greater Male
    connectivity, promoting Maldives’ socio-economic growth and stability.
    What might the future hold for India-Maldives relations?
  • New Leadership: Mohamed Muizzu, with a background in Western education, is the
    president designate.
  • Past Leadership’s Influence: Former President Yameen, noted for pro-China policies, is
    under house arrest, but his policies’ effects linger.
  • Political Dynamics: While elections bring promises, real-world governance could
    influence Muizzu away from drastic alterations in India-Maldives relations.
  • Historical Lessons: Past costly mistakes, like the $270 million payout in the 2012 “GMR
    out” campaign, underscore the importance of stable relations with India.