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International Relations

Parliamentary Election in Maldives

  • 09 Apr 2019
  • 4 min read

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has made a landslide victory in the parliamentary election in the Maldives by winning more than two-thirds seats in 87-Member People’s Majlis (Maldives Parliament).

  • MDP victory is also a boost to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldives, who also belongs to MDP. Victory paves the way for easy passage of bills and a policy agenda with a realistic chance of implementation.
  • President Solih assumed power after a presidential election in September 2018, replacing his predecessor Abdulla Yameen, who had propelled the Maldives into China’s economic embrace.

Significance For India

  • After a downward trend in relation during the presidency of Abdulla Yameen, that benefited China considerably, the relation between India and Maldives are warming up again under the new president Ibrahim Solih.
  • Since September 2018, India and Maldives have seen a number of bilateral visits

India-Maldives Relation

  • India and the Maldives share deep historical, cultural, and economic ties.
  • India was among the first to recognize the Maldives after its independence in 1965 and to establish diplomatic relations with the country. India established its mission at Malé in 1972.
  • India’s bilateral and financial assistance to the Maldives has been reciprocated through an “India first” policy by the Maldives.
  • Importance of the Maldives for India:
    • The Maldives is an important aspect of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
    • Strategically located in the Indian Ocean, Maldives archipelago comprising 1200 coral Islands lies next to key shipping lanes which ensure uninterrupted energy supplies to countries like China, Japan, and India. More than 97% of India’s international trade by volume and 75% by value passes through the region.
    • As the pre-eminent South Asian power and a ‘net security provider’ in the Indian Ocean region, India needs to cooperate with the Maldives in security and defense sectors.
    • India is also a preferred destination for Maldivians for education, medical treatment, recreation, and business.
    • Maldives is also a member of SAARC. It is important for India to have the Maldives on board to maintain its leadership in the region.
    • Since China’s naval expansion into the Indian Ocean - Maldives significance has steadily grown and now it’s at the heart of international geopolitics.
    • There is significant Indian diaspora in the Maldives. Innumerable Indians work across the hospitality, education, and health-care sectors of the Maldives economy.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia formed in 1985.
  • The member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • SAARC compromises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 9.12% of the global economy, as of 2015.
  • The organization promotes the development of economic and regional integration. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006.
  • SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the UN as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities.
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