Maldives-India Relations “Truly Special,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Said
- The Maldives is one of India's most important marine neighbors in the Indian Ocean Region. In the last few years, India and the Maldives have been getting closer in many ways, including in defense and security.
- In August of last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Solih kicked off the India-funded Greater Male connectivity project.
At an event in Male on Tuesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh gave a fast patrol vessel and a landing craft to the Maldives as a gift from India. At the same time, he and Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih talked about how to strengthen the already strong strategic ties between India and the Maldives.
Singh spoke at the event in front of the top civilian and military leaders of the island nation. He said that the relationship between India and the Maldives is “truly special” and has become a model for the rest of the region to follow.
The defense minister also said that India, the Maldives, and other countries in the area with similar views need to work together more to solve problems in the Indian Ocean Region.
Solih gave the offshore patrol vessel to the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) at the event where it was handed over. “The friendship between India and the Maldives is very special. At the handing-over ceremony, Singh said, “Our relationship has stood the test of time, and we’ve always been there for each other when we needed it.”
The defense minister said that the way the two countries get along has become a model for the rest of the area. “India, the Maldives, and other countries in the area with similar goals need to work together more to solve the problems we all face in the Indian Ocean Region,” he said. Singh said, “Because of this, we must work together to make sure that the Indian Ocean’s seas are peaceful and that the ocean’s resources are used in the best way possible to ensure regional prosperity.”
China is trying to increase its strategic impact in the Indian Ocean Region. This is why India gave the two platforms to one of its most important maritime neighbors. “We want to make relationships where we can learn from each other, grow together, and make a situation where everyone wins.
We also want to make sure you know that India’s backing for MNDF and Maldives will only get stronger and better over time,” Singh said. The defense minister said that India has greatly improved its defense capabilities, which has allowed it to do more to help its partner countries build their own defense capabilities. “India offers friendly foreign countries a stronger defense partnership that works with their own national priorities,” he said.
“India’s strong and active defense cooperation with the Maldives comes from our “Neighborhood First” and “SAGAR” (Security and Growth for All in the Region) policies,” he said. In a tweet, the Maldivian President’s Office said that the Coast Guard ship will make a big difference in the MNDF’s defense and protection at sea.
“These “Made in India” ships will make it much easier for the MNDF Coast Guard to keep an eye on off-shore and coastal areas and deal with problems like smuggling, human and drug trafficking, terrorism, and violent extremism. It shows that India wants to improve MNDF’s skills,” the Indian high commission in Male wrote on Twitter.
Before the handover event, Singh met with Solih and talked about ways to improve ties between India and the Maldives. “Great meeting at the President’s Office in Male with HEP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. We talked about a lot of different ways to improve the relationship between India and Maldives,” Singh wrote on Twitter.
Singh, who was on a three-day trip to the island nation, met with his Maldivian partner Mariya Didi and Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid in Male. They talked for a long time about how to strengthen the strategic ties between the two countries.
The Madivian defense minister said that Singh’s visit is a “significant milestone in the relationship between the two countries because it gives the already strong defense ties a new level of energy and momentum.” Singh is going there for the first time as defense minister.
The Maldives is one of India’s most important marine neighbors in the Indian Ocean Region. In the last few years, India and the Maldives have been getting closer in many ways, including in defense and security.
In August of last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Solih kicked off the India-funded Greater Male connectivity project.
This project is said to be the biggest building project in the island nation and was started by Modi and Solih. Under the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP), a 6.74 km long bridge and causeway link will be built to connect the main city, Male, with the nearby islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu, and Thilafushi. India’s strategy of putting its neighbors first has also helped the Maldives a lot.