Strong historical ties between India and the Maldives are growing.

India recognized the Maldives shortly after independence in 1965 and established diplomatic relations with the region . India is known as a net security partner, a function that is well-recognized in the Maldives .

Male Maldives – December 8, 2018: India and the Maldives have long-standing friendships, which are eroding in the modern era.It is believed that the first settlers in the Maldives, who came there in the 5th century BCE, were probably ethnic Sinhalese and Dravidian Buddhists from modern Sri Lanka and South India.The Maldives are located close to the western coast of India, about 70 nautical miles from Minicoy.Its position at the intersection of commercial sea lanes running through the Indian Ocean gives it a strategic significance for India.

It was no wonder that India recognized the Maldives shortly after independence in 1965 and established diplomatic relations with the region.India-Maldives relations extend to a number of countries and are free of politically charged issues.India had taken control of Minicoy Island, which the Maldives surrendered in 1976, several decades earlier.India is known as a net security partner, a function that is well-recognized in the Maldives.During the attempted coup attempt of 1988, India's military assistance was vital in establishing rapport.

It went a long way toward addressing fears about India's territorial ambitions in the Maldives.In Dec 2014, India was also the first to reach out to Maldives for the 2004 Tsunami and the Male drinking water shortage.These three events (1988, 2004, and 2014) show the benefits of India's close proximity and ability to support Maldives in times of crisis.More recently, India delivered 30,000 vials of measles vaccine in January 2020.During the COVID-19 pandemic, India extended and rapid assistance to the Maldives.These events have solidified India's status as the first-responder when the Maldives face a critical crisis.

So, it is no surprise that the current Maldives Government (GoM) has followed an India First agenda and proudly promoted it.In November 2018, Indian Prime Minister Modi addressed the swearing-in ceremony of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the single head of state.Following the ceremony, the Prime Minister reiterated Indias commitment to cooperate closely for the prompt and effective realization of Maldives' development goals, especially in areas such as infrastructure, health care, connectivity, and human resource development.Indeedly enough, India was the site for President Solih's first overseas trip since taking office.India announced a US$ 1.4 billion financial assistance package during his State Visit to India in Dec 2018.

During his trip to the Maldives in June 2019, the Indian Prime Minister also addressed a session of the Parliament.Several Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) were also signed on April 2020 and July 2021 regarding cooperation and cooperation in areas such as hydrography, healthcare, maritime cargo services, customs capacity building, governance, and shipping.In Aug 2022, president Solih made an official visit to India.He was accompanied by a 45-member delegation, which included the Minister of Economic Development, Minister of Finance, and a business delegation.

The India-funded initiative is billed as the island nation's biggest infrastructure development initiative.The initiative was supposed to boost the Maldivian economy by generating jobs and encouraging diverse economic activities, but Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra visited the Maldives in October 2022.He met with President Solih, Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail, Speaker Nasheed, Defense Minister Mariya Didi, Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer, and other Maldivian political leaders.In addition, he discussed the bilateral cooperation with Maldivian counterpart Ahmed Latheef.In addition, India and Maldives have been cooperating in defense and security since 1988.

In 2021-22, India has trained over 1400 Maldivian National Defence Forces trainees over the last ten years and has filled 300 training slots (including SPG, NSG, and MIO).In 1995, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Male was constructed with Indian Grant Assistance.In addition, many educational institutions, including the Maldives Institute of Technical Education (now known as the Maldives Polytechnic), India-Maldives Faculty of Hospitality & Tourism Studies, and the National Center for Police and Law Enforcement (NCPLE), have been constructed with Indian assistance and support.India recently pledged to assist the Maldives in the construction of a State of Art Cancer Hospital, which would extend their 150+ medical centers on various islands.

The TATA Memorial Center (TMC) of India will handle the implementation of the scheme.The Cancer Hospital initiative was officially included in the Line of Credit on President Solih's return to India in August 2022.With a grant of 8.95 crores, India also supports the restoration of Hukuru Miskiiy in Male, which is also known as the Friday Mosque.Hukuru Miskiiy was constructed in 1658 during Ibrahim Iskandar I (1648-1687), is one of the Maldives' oldest and most decorated mosques.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the construction from being completed.When a team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) arrived in Male in March 2021, work began.The EXIM Bank of India funds the redevelopment of airports in Hanimaadhoo and Gan.The Government of India has approved the DPRs for both of these projects, which were completed by the Airports Authority of India in September 2022.

Bilateral trade between the two countries has since crossed the USD 300 million mark in 2021, reaching an impressive USD 323.9 million.The bilateral trade increased by over 31 percent year on year, most likely as a result of the launch of the freight vessel service between the two countries in September 2020 and the commencement of work on three of our Line of Credit (LoC) schemes in the Maldives in February 2021.In addition, the two countries are now looking forward to finding new ways and means to deepen and strengthen their bilateral relationship in the coming years.