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The bilateral relationship between India and Maldives goes into depth

India and Maldives share a maritime border. It is located in the south of India’s Lakshadweep Island in the Indian Ocean. India became independent from British rule in 1947 whereas Maldives became independent in 1966. After the Independence, both shared a strong military, economic, and cultural relationship.

Background of India and Maldives relations

Several treaties have been signed between India and Maldives which shows a strong relation between them. Like, The Maritime Boundary Treaty (1976), India gifted a trinket class Fast Attack craft to Maldives (2006), etc

Image Source- The Indian Express

Different significant steps between India and Maldives:-

  • India was the first country to help Maldives during the 2004 Tsunami
  • On the outbreak of measles in Maldives, India instantly dispatches a huge to stop the outbreak.
  • Maldives also credited India as the “First responder” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • India is seen as a net security provider, and both work together to maintain the safety and security of the Indian Ocean Region.
  • In 2023 India sent the largest number of tourists to Maldives.
  • The bilateral trade reaches USD 300 million in 2021.
  • Indian company Afcons signed a contract for the largest infrastructure project in Maldives.


Presently, India sanctioned USD 500 million for the biggest project in Maldives “The Great Male Connectivity Project” in which a 6.74 km long bridge connects the Maldivian capital Male with three adjoining Islands.


But the ‘close and cordial’ tie between India and Maldives collapsed after defaming the visit of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lakshadweep Island. Several Maldivian deputy ministers have shared their negative thoughts through social media posts. Maldives knows the impact of getting enmity with India. So, to correct it around 3-4 deputy ministers have been suspended.


The relationship was already seen in great depth after the election of Mohamed Muizzu as Maldivian President who showed the signal to leave the “India first” approach and adopting a soft corner toward China, rather knowing the fact that India and China do not share a golden bond between them.


The diplomatic tension arose more after Muizzu ordered The Indian Modi government to withdraw its military from the Island Nation despite knowing the fact that India is the leading supporter in developing the Island’s economy through tourism. India has also hosted different growth programs in Maldives like The airport at Hanimaadhoo and Gan Island, The Greater Male connectivity Project, as well as the development of Gulhifalhu Port.


Social media users from India exhibited their anger against the Maldives through the online campaign “#boycottMaldives”.


After the dispute with India: Maldives and China

Image Source-  News 18

Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu and First Lady Sajidha Mohamed went on a 5-day state visit to China in January 2024, and there he met the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping. During the visit, several agreements have been signed between both the countries.

He addressed the Maldives Business Forum in Fujian and appealed to China for increased tourist traffic to his country. According to the statement released by Muizzu’s office, he stated China was their number one market for tourism purposes and intended China to look forward and gain its position back.



He has also requested China for the quick implementation of the “Free Trade Agreement” (FTA) signed between both countries. So, that the commercial relation grows between both the countries.


Muizzu also sought investments from Chinese companies for 11 Projects at the Maldives Investment Forum.

A total 20 agreement have been signed between both countries.(according to the words released by his office). It includes tourism cooperation, the blue economy, disaster risk reduction, the Belt and Road initiative, and investment in the digital economy.


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