Maldivian Foreign Minister to Visit India Amid Strained Ties

Maldives' pro-China stance strains ties with India; Foreign Minister's visit aims to reset bilateral relations amid debt, military issues.

Shivani Chauhan
New Update
Maldivian Foreign Minister to Visit India Amid Strained Ties

Maldivian Foreign Minister to Visit India Amid Strained Ties

Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer is scheduled to visit India next week amid strained relations between the two South Asian neighbors. The visit comes after Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu has taken a pro-China stance and an anti-India approach since assuming office in November last year.

President Muizzu's election campaign had been based on the 'India Out' platform, which demanded the withdrawal of all Indian troops based in the Maldives. After taking office, Muizzu formally asked India to withdraw its military personnel and the two countries agreed to replace the Indian soldiers with civilian pilots and technicians by May 10, 2024.

Muizzu also chose to travel to China before visiting India and allowed Chinese spy vessels to dock in the Maldives, further straining the relationship. The Maldives has also informed India that it will withdraw from a hydrography agreement.

Why this matters: The visit by Foreign Minister Zameer marks the first high-level engagement between the Maldives and India since President Muizzu took office. It will play a critical role in resetting bilateral ties that have been frosty in recent months due to the Maldivian government's pro-China and anti-India stance.

Despite the diplomatic tensions, India has continued to provide essential commodities to the Maldives. Zameer acknowledged this as a gesture signifying the longstanding friendship between the two countries, stating, "I would like to highlight India's decision to increase the export of essential supplies to the Maldives for the fiscal year 2024-25."

During the visit, Zameer is likely to discuss the issue of servicing the Maldives' debt to India, as the country faces a major foreign debt burden. However, no major announcements are expected. The meeting between Zameer and Indian Minister Jaishankar is expected to set the tone for future engagements and discuss issues such as India's infrastructure development projects in the Maldives.

Key Takeaways

  • Maldivian FM Zameer to visit India amid strained India-Maldives ties
  • Maldivian President Muizzu has taken a pro-China, anti-India stance since taking office
  • Muizzu asked India to withdraw military personnel, allowed Chinese spy vessels to dock
  • Zameer's visit marks first high-level engagement since Muizzu took office
  • Discussions likely on Maldives' debt to India, India's infrastructure projects in Maldives