Maldives polls, India’s concerns

Source:Maldives polls, India’s concerns The post is based on an article “Maldives polls, India’s concerns” published in The Indian Express on 20th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – International Relations

Relevance: India-Maldives relations

News: India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Maldives earlier this week and met country’s President Ibrahim Solih. The article discusses the current development in India and Maldives bilateral relations.

What are the developments made between the two nations?
  1. Jaishankar and Maldives President participated in the groundbreaking ceremony of an international airport being developed by India at Hanimadhoo in Haaa Dahaalu atoll.

They also signed three MoUs, including on a proposed collaboration between Cochin University and the Maldives National University, and a $100 million grant for “high impact community development” projects.

Jaishankar handed over two sea ambulances to the Maldives Defence Ministry. He also distributed books at a pre-school in Manadhoo.

Jaishankar along with his counterpart inaugurated an India-funded community centre in the Foakaidhoo island.

Discussions were also made with a focus on development cooperation, capacity building and people-to-people ties.

Moreover, India’s Neighbourhood First and SAGAR policies have helped in the improvement of ties between the two nations. Maldives is also a part of the India-driven Colombo Security Conclave. 

Further, Maldives foreign policy focuses on India First but it also focuses on improving ties with China which might be of concern for India.

What is the significance of international airport being developed by India at Hanimadhoo in Haaa Dahaalu atoll?

The development of the airport will be executed by the Indian company JMC Projects Ltd. It has been financed by a line of credit to the Maldives from India’s Exim Bank. 

The airport is expected to help bring in more tourists to the northern areas of the Maldives as tourism is an important economic activity of Maldives.

This is the second biggest infra project that India has begun in recent months after the Greater Male Connectivity project, that aims to link the Maldives capital to three neighbouring highlands with a bridge and causeway over the sea.

These two projects are important for India to check China’s presence in the nation as it has developed Male-Hulumale-Hulhule bridge and the Hulumale airport.

 

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