Context:

  • Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, who has been elected President of the 76th United Nations General Assembly, with a striking majority shared his thoughts throwing light on what is expected out of the new leadership.
  • The Maldives has made no decision on opening an Indian consulate in its southern Addu Atoll – said the Maldives president a fortnight after the Indian Cabinet cleared a proposal for it.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Institutions, India’s Neighbors, Foreign Policy Affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the UNGA president on Vaccine Nationalism
  2. On Indian consulate in Addu Atoll
  3. About Addu Atoll

Click Here to read more about the UNGA and India supports Maldives for the Presidency of the UNGA session

About the UNGA president on Vaccine Nationalism

  • United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) president-elect and Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has warned against Vaccine nationalism and said that it would destroy countries’ efforts to eradicate the pandemic and must be avoided “at all costs”.
  • He termed the disparity in vaccination coverage in developed countries and the rest of the world “unacceptable”.
  • Vaccine nationalism occurs when a country manages to secure doses of vaccine for its own citizens or residents before they are made available in other countries. This is done through pre-purchase agreements between a government and a vaccine manufacturer.
  • Vaccine nationalism is harmful for equitable access to vaccines and it disadvantages countries with fewer resources and bargaining power.
  • Vaccine nationalism deprives populations in the Global South from timely access to vital public health goods and if it is taken to its extreme, it allocates vaccines to moderately at-risk populations in wealthy countries over populations at higher risk in developing economies.

On Indian consulate in Addu Atoll

  • The Maldives President remarked on the proposed Indian consulate in the southern Addu Atoll, appearing to keep the option open, amid an ongoing “#SaveAddu” social media campaign by a section of Maldivians sceptical of another Indian mission presence, in addition to the Embassy in Male.
  • Legislators from Addu and local body representatives — from the ruling coalition widely perceived as India-friendly — have pledged support to the initiative.
  • Opposition voices, which earlier led an ‘#Indiaout’ campaign against enhanced military cooperation between the neighbours, have opposed the proposed consulate.
  • Apart from its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, Addu is the second largest city in the archipelago, home to over 30,000 people. Indian government sources familiar with the proposal said the rationale for the consulate was to help Addu residents with speedy visa services.
  • Further, the fact that the announcement appeared in the Indian media last month, before either government made an announcement, has prompted criticism of Indian “heavy handedness”.

About Addu Atoll

  • Addu Atoll, also known as Seenu Atoll, is the southernmost atoll of the Maldives.
  • Administratively, Addu Atoll is the location of Addu City, one of the three cities of the Maldives.
  • Unlike other atolls of the Maldives, Addu Atoll has a lagoon that is a natural anchorage, accessible through four natural channels.
  • This results in a natural harbor that is very calm and safe for sea vessels at all times and is not affected by seasonal changes.
  • The islands are protected from the storms and high waves of the Indian Ocean by barrier reefs.

-Source: The Hindu

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