09, Apr 2019
Prelims level : International (India and its neighbours) Mains level : GS-II (India and its neighbourhood- relations)
Why in news:
- The administration of Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has received a positive effect with the parliamentary election held over the weekend, paving the way for easy passage of bills and a policy agenda with a realistic chance of implementation.
- When Mr. Solih visited India in December, a $1.4 billion financial assistance package for the Maldives was announced, and the two governments agreed to exempt holders of diplomatic and official passports from visa requirements. Indian grant aid for “high-impact community development projects” have been signed, as also agreements on clean energy and regional maritime security.
- The new government presses on with the urgent task of rebuilding and deepening the Maldives’ democratic credentials.
- There is hope for political stability and economic development across the 1,192-island archipelago and the wider IOR.
India Maldives relations
- India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links steeped in antiquity and enjoy close, cordial and multi-dimensional relations. India was among the first to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965 and to establish diplomatic relations with the country.
- Wherever possible, India has been offering assistance to Maldives in its developmental process. The major projects executed by India are:
- Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital: (IGMH) During former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Male’ in 1986, it was agreed to establish a medical complex in Male’ with Indian Accordingly, the 200-bed hospital was established at an estimated cost of Rs.42.5 crores and inaugurated in April 1995. IGMH, Male now serves as the most advanced tertiary care hospital in Maldives and is easily the most visible symbol of India’s assistance to the Maldives. Though at present, the Government of Maldives is responsible for managing/running the hospital, Government of India continues to offer substantial assistance to the institution.
- Faculty of Engineering Technology (FET): Maldives Institute of Technical Education (MITE) was set up as a grant-in-aid project of Government of India in Having a capacity to train at least 200 students a year in various technical/vocational disciplines, MITE was renamed as Faculty of Engineering Technology (FET) in order to better reflect the academic programmes conducted by it, is functioning well.
Importance of Maldives:
- The Maldives, long a popular tourist destination, has grown in strategic importance in recent years as China and India to establish their influence in the region, and as Beijing pushes ahead with its global trade and infrastructure plan.
- Spread over nearly 1,200 islands spanning more than 90,000 sq km, key shipping lanes where Beijing and New Delhi compete to pursue their often-conflicting maritime strategies pass through this tiny Indian Ocean nation.
- Though small, the Maldives is India’s important neighbour. India’s Prime Minister Narendra
- Modi called the Maldives “a valued partner in the Indian Ocean neighbourhood”.
- India-Maldives “ties are built on a very strong foundation” the contours of which are defined
- by shared strategic, security, economic and developmental goals.
- However, the bilateral ties are not without irritants, which can be seen in two broad areas: political and strategic.