India Gifts Patrol Vessel, And Landing Craft To Maldives
During his visit to the Maldives from May 1 to 3, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will hand over a fast patrol vessel and a landing craft as a “gift” from India.
Points to Ponder:
- During his visit to the Maldives from May 1 to 3, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will present a fast patrol vessel and a landing craft.
- This gesture is part of India’s efforts to deepen bilateral ties and forge strong connections of friendship with its vital maritime neighbour.
- Meetings will also be held with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, and Defence Minister Mariya Didi during the visit.
- During these meetings, the two countries’ entire defence relationship will be reviewed.
- The initiative coincides with China’s ambitions to increase its influence in the region, as well as India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ strategy and SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) vision, which want to collaborate with the Maldives to enhance capabilities in the Indian Ocean region.
- During his visit, the Defence Minister will also assess several India-assisted initiatives in the Maldives and connect with the Indian diaspora.
- Overall, the piece emphasises India’s efforts to deepen strategic ties with the Maldives and oppose China’s influence in the region. The donation of military platforms represents India’s commitment to the region’s security and progress, and the discussions with Maldivian officials will evaluate and strengthen bilateral defence cooperation.
- Historical and Cultural links: India and the Maldives have long had historical and cultural links. They have ancient ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and religious ties. The two countries have a long history of trade and business, with the Maldives functioning as an important trading hub in the Indian Ocean.
- Diplomatic ties: Following the Maldives’ independence in 1965, India was among the first countries to recognise the country and establish diplomatic ties with it. In 1972, India created a CDA mission and a resident High Commissioner in 1980. In November 2004, the Maldives established a full-fledged High Commission in New Delhi, one of the country’s only four diplomatic posts overseas.
- Bilateral Visits: There have been multiple bilateral visits between India and the Maldives, demonstrating the two nations’ close connection. The President of the Maldives will visit India in August 2022 to deepen geopolitical, security, and economic ties between the two countries. Major General Abdulla Shamaal, Chief of the Maldives National Defence Forces, will visit India in July 2022 to expand defence cooperation between the two neighbouring countries. In 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a visit to the Maldives to witness the inauguration of newly elected Maldives President Mohamed Solih. The Maldives’ President Solih visited India the same year and reaffirmed the country’s India-first strategy.