Relevance : GS Paper II
For Maldivians, the election of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in September 2018 meant a possible opening up of democratic space in the country. It also meant reconnecting with many countries with which Male’s relationship had turned rather tense in those years, particularly India.
India-Maldives Relation in the Past
- On November 3, 1988, when mercenaries attacked the Maldives, India was the first to respond.
- In 2004, when the tsunami hit Maldives, Indian naval ships were despatched to assist it.
- During the last government’s term, there was a water crisis in Male. Within four hours Indian Navy and Air Force vessels delivered water.
- Between 2013 and 2018, then-President Yameen’s administration was seen as tilting heavily towards China amid growing tensions with India.
Evidence of Improvement in Relations
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended President Solih’s swearing-in ceremony. The recent visit by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj cemented many aspects of the cooperation agenda.
- Indian government provides development assistance. It is going into people-oriented projects like providing fresh water, sanitation, sewerage.
- Building roads and moving the Male commercial harbour to Thilafushi [island west of Male] are huge projects that are going to be major symbols of cooperation between the two countries.