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Maldives Re-evaluates Bilateral Agreements with India

Why is it in the news?

  • The newly elected Maldives government is reviewing over 100 agreements, including defence and security agreements, signed with the previous government.
  • Further, the President Mohamed Muizzu has requested India to withdraw all its soldiers from the Maldives. This raises questions about the overall bilateral ties between India and the Maldives.

Evolution of India-Maldives Relations

  • Early Diplomatic Ties (1965-1978): The Maldives gained independence from the British in 1965. India was one of the first countries to recognize the Maldives as an independent nation.


  • Strategic Partnership (1978-1988): The Maritime Boundary Agreement was signed in 1979 to define maritime boundaries.


  • Political Turbulence (1988-2008): In 1988, a coup attempt led to Indian military intervention in Operation Cactus to preserve political stability. This event strained diplomatic relations but was later resolved.


  • Normalization and Economic Cooperation (2008-2013): In 2008, there was a peaceful political transition, and the relationship improved. Focus on economic cooperation, trade, and people-to-people ties. India provided developmental assistance, especially in infrastructure and capacity building.


  • Period of Strain (2013-2018): During Abdulla Yameen’s presidency, concerns arose over democratic backsliding, human rights, and a perceived tilt towards China. The Maldives engaged with China, including Belt and Road Initiative projects, causing strategic concerns for India.


  • Renewed Engagement (2018 Onward): The election of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as President in 2018 marked a shift in bilateral relations. Renewed emphasis on strengthening ties with India. Both countries committed to democratic values, and India extended financial assistance for developmental projects.


  • The evolution of India-Maldives relations reflects geopolitical dynamics, leadership changes, and shared regional interests.
  • Though, India has consistently committed to nurturing the partnership, any impulsive steps to undo this partnership could harm the Maldives more than India.

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