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Millennium Post

Securing the ties

Securing the ties

The marine neighbours India and Maldives share bilateral relations have been friendly, resting on the pillars of strategic, economic, and military cooperation. India has played a special role in the relations with the island nation with its contribution to maintaining security there. The two nations have developed close strategic, military, economic and cultural relations over the decades and India has consistently been in support of the Maldives' policy of keeping regional issues at their domestic level. For the Maldives, friendship with India is considered 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. In light of the event on Friday when Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid met his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar for the first India-Maldives Joint Commission to be held in four years, it came to the fore that bilateral ties with respect to development projects are going apace, but also that the Maldives is staying the course on Chinese projects, despite misgivings over past loans. Although security ties with India remain a priority, the fact that China is a generous donor to Maldives on infrastructure projects is a persisting concern for India, despite the fact that India has announced $1.4 billion in budgetary support in addition to a $8,000-million line of credit and others. There has been a considerable geopolitical change with China's foray into the maritime territories, with Chinese warships docked in Male harbour last year bringing deep misgivings in India. On the part of Maldives, the diplomatic stand is to ensure that the Indian Ocean remains peaceful as it is necessary for the stability of the Maldives and the region at large. With rivalries between bigger countries playing out in the ocean, it is the smaller nations that will suffer; in this regards, the Maldives is bound to suffer. It is hence in the Interest of the island nation to push for peace in the contexts of India and China. Besides geopolitics, the intense wave sweeping India with the Constitutional Amendment Bill just passed, the impression of India that is being created internationally is also a responsibility that New Delhi must step up to. Respecting the sovereignty of India, Former President of the Maldives and the Speaker of Maldives Parliament Mohamed Nasheed termed the Citizenship Amendment Bill India's internal matter, adding that "I believe whatever that comes out from the process would be what the vast majority in India would agree upon." As for India, the government must realise that foreign relation rest on the secure pillars of stable domestic situations and think in this direction.

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