Defense News
Top stories about the Indian Army, its partners & rivals in the region and the international arena.

India and Maldives to Bolster Security Ties to Promote Stability in Indian Ocean Region

© Photo : Twitter/ @rajnathsinghRajnath Singh handovers a Fast Patrol Vessel and a Landing Craft Assault ship to Maldives
Rajnath Singh handovers a Fast Patrol Vessel and a Landing Craft Assault ship to Maldives  - Sputnik India, 1920, 03.05.2023
Rajnath Singh concluded his three-day visit to Maldives on Wednesday, during which he called upon President Ibrahim Solih and FM Abdulla Shahid and held consultations with Maldivian counterpart Mariya Didi.
Maldives and India will deepen security cooperation in view of the “common security challenges” to promote peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), as per a joint statement by the defense ministers of two countries on Wednesday.
Among the persisitng challenges are maritime security, terrorism, radicalisation, piracy, trafficking, organised crime and natural disasters, as per New Delhi.

Rajnath Singh and his Maldivian counterpart Mariya Didi agreed to “explore additional avenues” for cooperation in the areas of defense trade, capacity-building and joint exercises, per the statement. It added that both the countries also emphasised the need to promote people-to-people ties and exchanges between the armed forces of the two nations.

The joint communique also underscored the "importance of respecting international law and rules-based international order and expressed their commitment to upholding these principles”.

India Hands Over ‘Made in India’ Defence Platforms to Maldives

A major highlight of Singh’s visit was New Delhi handing over two ‘Made in India’ defence platforms, a Fast Patrol Vessel, Huravee, and a Landing Craft Assault ship, to the Maldivian National Defence Forces (MNDF).
“The handing over of these vessels are in line with India's vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) (policy) that seeks to work together with and jointly develop the capabilities of friends and partners for a safe, secure, prosperous and stable Indian Ocean Region,” as per the joint statement.
Singh also attended a foundation stone-laying ceremony of the MNDF Coast Guard ‘Ekatha’ harbour, which is one of the “biggest grant-in-aid projects” of the Indian government.
Finally, the Indian defence chief addressed the Indian diaspora in the Indian Ocean nation.

India’s Picks Maldives as ‘Priority’ in the Neighbourhood

During his three-day visit, Singh reaffirmed that Maldives remained a “priority” in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy, which guides New Delhi’s ties with its immediate land and maritime neighbours in south Asia.
Championed by Ibrahim Solih, the policy mandates that Male would remain mindful of New Delhi’s security concerns.
“India's vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) along with its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy as well as Maldives’ ‘India First’ policy seek to work together to jointly develop the capabilities within the Indian Ocean Region,” the Indian defence ministry said.
The Solih administration doubled down on the policy in the wake of the ‘India Out’ campaign spearheaded by ex-President Abdulla Yameen, who opposed Male’s close defence ties with New Delhi. Meanwhile, around 70 per cent of training requirements of the Maldivian defence forces are met by India.
It's worth noting that Singh’s visit comes months before Maldives goes to the presidential election scheduled to take place in September.
Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar - Sputnik India, 1920, 14.03.2023
Defense News
Maldives FM Praises India For Helping in Construction of Naval Facility