Amidst the changing tides of international relations, the Maldivian government has made a pivotal decision regarding its maritime collaboration with India. The announcement this week by Maldives’ presidential spokesman, Mohamed Firuzul Khaleel, highlighted the termination of the oceanographic survey agreement with the Indian Navy.
Fulfilling President Mohammed Muizzu’s campaign promises, this move signifies a shift in the country’s defense strategy. It entails the cessation of the hydrography agreement, set to expire in June next year, and asserts the Maldives National Defense Force’s (MNDF) exclusive responsibility for future hydrographic endeavors.
The agreement, established in 2019 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, aimed to enhance maritime safety by updating nautical charts and collecting vital oceanic data.
However, President Muizzu’s administration perceives these agreements as potential threats to Maldives’ sovereignty. This decision, coupled with President Muizzu’s call for India to withdraw its military personnel and the plan to review over 100 agreements with India, indicates a significant transformation in diplomatic relations.
India’s longstanding support for the Maldives has witnessed strains in recent years, particularly during the tenure of Abdulla Yameen, fostering increased Chinese influence through the Belt and Road Initiative.
Despite India’s recent financial aid initiatives, the evolving dynamics suggest a substantial reconfiguration in the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean region.