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India Tightens Export Controls for Maldives

India Tightens Export Controls for Maldives

In a move that could further strain relations between India and the Maldives, the Indian government has tightened export regulations for essential commodities shipped to the island nation.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) announced new restrictions, limiting exports to the Maldives to only four designated customs stations. This replaces the previous system that allowed for more flexibility in export points.

The stricter regulations come amidst a period of tension between the two countries. India, a key supplier of essential goods to the Maldives, has previously imposed export restrictions on staples like rice and onions. However, these restrictions were typically eased for the Maldives under India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy aimed at strengthening ties with regional partners.

Despite the recent tensions, India did grant the Maldives the highest import quota for essential commodities this year under a bilateral trade agreement. Additionally, India increased its export quota for construction materials to the Maldives by 25%.

This tightening of export controls coincides with the Maldives’ recent efforts to diversify its supply chains. The “India Out” campaign, championed by the current Maldivian administration, seeks new partnerships for essential goods. The government has already secured agreements with Turkey for imports of staples and is exploring healthcare access for Maldivians in the UAE and Thailand.

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The change in export policy follows a deterioration in diplomatic relations since the Maldives’ regime change in November 2023. Recent comments by senior Maldivian officials critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have further exacerbated the situation.

MMJ News Desk
Author: MMJ News Desk

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