USA-Maldives Framework on Defense and Security Relationship
- 14 Sep 2020
- 3 min read
Why in News
Recently, a Framework on Defense and Security Relationship has been signed between the USA and the Maldives.
- The move is seen as consistent with the growing alignment of the USA and Indian interests in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and Indo-Pacific.
- The Framework intends to deepen engagement and cooperation in support of maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean.
- It marks an important step forward in the defence partnership between the USA and the Maldives, where both of them agreed to reiterate their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that promotes the security and prosperity of all nations in the region.
- The Framework outlines a range of bilateral activities, including senior-level dialogues, engagements etc. in areas such as maritime domain awareness, natural disasters and humanitarian relief operations.
Significance for India
- India has not officially responded to the announcement of the framework yet.
- This announcement can be seen as a timely signal to China, particularly when Indian and Chinese soldiers are locked in a stand-off at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.
- The Chinese presence and influence in the IOR have been a constant source of worry for India.
- India has taken steps to strengthen its strategic presence in both the IOR and Indo-Pacific.
- The Quad, a grouping that brings together the USA, Japan, India and Australia, with the apparent but unstated aim of containing China in the region, is also part of this process.
- Malabar Exercise to strengthen the shared objective of a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
- Track 1.5 dialogue between India, France and Australia to identify security challenges and sustainability issues in the Indo Pacific.
- Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement between India and Japan which allows armed forces of both sides to coordinate closely in services and supplies.
- The framework has the potential to blunt the security aspects of cooperation between China and the Maldives, even if economic co-operation continues.
- Given India-USA ties, India sees the pact as useful also because India’s own direct involvement in Maldivian security matters tends to be viewed with suspicion domestically.
- The framework can provide an indirect route to India if needed.