Mains Practice Question


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Analyze the recent visit by the Maldives' president to India to understand how it sheds light on the evolving landscape of alliances and the strategic objectives of major powers in the Indo-Pacific


  • The Maldives is a crucial partner for India in safeguarding its maritime boundaries and overseeing the broader Indian Ocean region, where China is asserting its influence. The archipelago is situated approximately 300 nautical miles (560 km) from India’s west coast and about 70 nautical miles (130 km) from Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep, intersected by numerous key commercial shipping routes.
  • Mohamed Muizzu, President of the Maldives, was among the leaders from India’s neighboring countries who attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • Muizzu’s attendance was noteworthy due to his political stance toward India and the strategic importance of the India-Maldives relationship.


What is the India Out Campaign?

  • The India Out campaign started in 2020 as a protest against then-President Ibrahim Solih’s perceived pro-India policies, quickly evolving into a broader movement opposing India’s alleged military presence in the Maldives. Both the Solih administration and India denied these allegations.
  • Consequently, in May, the final group of Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives to operate and maintain donated helicopters and Dornier aircraft were replaced by civilians.

Muizzu’s Pro-China Tilt

  • The relationship between the Maldives and India deteriorated due to Muizzu’s alignment with China, India’s geopolitical rival in the Indian Ocean.
  • In January, Muizzu broke with Maldivian tradition by selecting Beijing over New Delhi for his first international visit as president. During his trip, he met with President Xi Jinping and signed 20 agreements covering areas such as tourism, social housing, and e-commerce.
  • Additionally, Male signed its first-ever military deal with Beijing to receive free “non-lethal” military equipment and training from China.
  • Over the past few decades, Chinese influence in the Maldives has grown, with the island nation becoming part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, resulting in significant Chinese investment and a strengthened bilateral relationship at India’s expense.


  • The Maldives heavily depends on Indian imports across nearly all essential sectors, including food, life-saving medicines, and aircraft used for search and rescue missions.
  • India has consistently come to the Maldives' aid during various crises, from being the first responder after the 2004 tsunami to airlifting drinking water during a desalination plant failure in 2014. During the COVID-19 pandemic, India supplied medicines, masks, gloves, PPE kits, vaccines, and other necessary items
Other Points to Consider

What is the Belt and Road Initiative?

Atolls in news in Maldives



Previous Year Questions

1.Discuss the political developments in Maldives in the last two years. Should they be of any cause of concern to India? (2013)

2.Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South East Asian countries economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South-East Asia in this context. (2017)

20-Jun 2024