India Maldives Bilateral Relations:
India’s Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar visited the Maldives on February 13-14, for discussions with the Maldives National Defence Force as part of the second Defence Cooperation Dialogue.
- The Defence Cooperation Dialogue is one of India’s policy-level frameworks that aims to strengthen long-standing and mutually beneficial bilateral defence ties.
- The first Defence Cooperation Dialogue was held in July 2016 during the presidency of Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and the second DCD was held in January 2019.
- The location of the Maldives, at the intersection of commercial sea-lanes running through the Indian Ocean, makes it strategically important for India, particularly in the light of China’s growing aggression in the region.
- During the visit, Dr. Kumar handed over the refitted ship, the CGS Huravee to the Maldives.
- The Trinkat-class patrol vessel was gifted to the Maldivian Coast Guard in 2006. This vessel is used by the Maldives for coastal surveillance and for combating transnational crimes such as drug trafficking, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
- Since 1988, defence and security have been major areas of cooperation between India and Maldives.
- This cooperation extends to assisting the Maldives with defence training and equipment requirements. India provides the largest number of training opportunities for Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF), meeting around 70 per cent of their defence training requirements.
- In 2016, the two countries also signed a comprehensive action plan to consolidate defence partnership.