India’s current presence in Maldives
Currently 75 Indians military personnel are in the Maldives to maintain and operate Dornier aircraft and helicopter gifted by India.
India’s interest in Maldives: In past four years, India has emerged as the Maldives main security and economic partner, committing over $1 billion towards the socio-economic needs of the Maldives.
India’s interest in Maldives is tied to its security concern regarding China’s presence in the Indian ocean region. The Maldives is a part of ‘Colombo Security Conclave’ for regional maritime cooperation. India’s national security is closely linked to its collective security efforts in the region.
Challenges in Relation.
- Political Instability: For instance, the arrest of Maldives opposition leader Mohmad Nasheed in 2015 and the subsequent political crisis strained India’s relationship with Maldives.
- Radicalisation: The increasing number of Maldivians being drawn towards terrorist groups like Islamic States.
- China’s strategic presence: The Maldives emerged as an important pearl in China’s “string of pearls” which is concern for India’s security.
- In 2018 Maldives cancelled an agreement with India to develop a key Naval base on Island of Margo due to China’s growing influence in the Maldives.
- The India out campaign in Maldives which seeks to create anti Indian sentiments among the people of Maldives.
India needs to play a crucial role in ensuring regional security in South Asia and surrounding maritime boundaries by actively participating in the Indo Pacific security space.