India has sought Maldivian government action on persons behind media reports and social media posts “attacking the dignity” of its resident diplomats, while seeking greater security for the officials.
GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbors, Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests)
Dimensions of the Article:
- About India’s message to Maldives on Media Attacks
- India–Maldives relations
- Cooperation Between India & Maldives
- Irritants in India – Maldives relations
About India’s message to Maldives on Media Attacks
- In a letter the High Commission of India said the “repeated attacks” were “motivated, malicious and increasingly personal” against India’s resident diplomats.
- India urged the Maldives Foreign Ministry to take steps to “ensure enhanced protection” of the Indian Mission and its officials and to “ensure action, in accordance with International Law and Maldivian Law” against the perpetrators for “these gross violations” of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations.
- While India-Maldives ties came under considerable strain during former Maldives President’s term, the current President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s government is seen to be a close ally of India, with enhanced development and defence cooperation since 2018.
- However, some government critics in the Maldives are wary of greater military ties with India that they see as paving way for “boots on the ground”.
- In 2021, an announcement made in New Delhi, on the Cabinet clearing a proposal to set up a second mission in the Indian Ocean Archipelago, sparked concern among sections, prompting a renewed “#Indiaout” campaign on Maldivian social media.
- India and Maldives are neighbors sharing a maritime border and relations between the two countries have been friendly and close in strategic, economic and military cooperation.
- Maldives is located south of India’s Lakshadweep Islands in the Indian Ocean.
- Both nations established diplomatic relations after the independence of Maldives from British rule in 1966.
- India has supported Maldives’ policy of keeping regional issues and struggles away from itself, and the latter has seen friendship with India as a source of aid as well as a counterbalance to Sri Lanka, which is in proximity to the island nation and its largest trading partner.
Cooperation Between India & Maldives
- Through the decades, India has rushed emergency assistance to the Maldives, whenever sought.
- In 1988, when armed mercenaries attempted a coup against President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, India sent paratroopers and Navy vessels and restored the legitimate leadership under Operation Cactus.
- Further, joint naval exercises have been conducted in the Indian ocean and India still contributes to the security of the maritime island.
- The 2004 tsunami and the drinking water crisis in Male a decade later were other occasions when India rushed assistance.
- At the peak of the continuing COVID-19 disruption, the Maldives has been the biggest beneficiary of the Covid-19 assistance given by India among its all of India’s neighbouring countries.
- When the world supply chains were blocked because of the pandemic, India continued to provide crucial commodities to the Maldives under Mission SAGAR.
- Recently, in 2021, India extended its support to the Maldives’ Foreign Minister at the election for the President of the General Assembly (PGA) in the United Nations.
Irritants in India – Maldives relations
- In the past decade or so, the number of Maldivians drawn towards terrorist groups like the Islamic State (IS) and Pakistan-based madrassas and jihadist groups has been increasing. Political instability and socio-economic uncertainty are the main drivers fuelling the rise of Islamist radicalism in the island nation.
- China’s strategic footprint in Maldives and the rest of India’s neighbourhood has increased. The Maldives has emerged as an important ‘pearl’ in China’s “String of Pearls” construct in South Asia.
- One of India’s major concerns has been the impact of political instability in the neighbourhood on its security and development. The February 2015 arrest of opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed on terrorism charges and the consequent political crisis have posed a real diplomatic test for India’s neighbourhood policy.
-Source: The Hindu