IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


4th May, 2023 Security

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  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Maldivian counterpart, Mariya Didi, laid the foundation stone for the Maldives National Defence Forces Coast Guard ‘Ekatha Harbour’.


  • The development of the Coast Guard Harbour and repair facility at Sifavaru is one of the biggest grant-in-aid projects of India.
  • This is the first visit of an Indian Defence Minister to the island nation in 11 years.


  • It is located at Sifavaru in Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) atoll, where India is assisting in construction of a naval dockyard.


  • The UTF project, announced during External Affairs Minister’s visit in February 2021, has been at the centre of a political controversy in the Maldives.
  • Allegations that the project was a cover for Indian military presence in the Indian Ocean nation were part of an “India Out” campaign, backed by the country’s Opposition leader Abdulla Yameen.
  • Last year, Maldives President Ibrahim Solih banned anti-India protests as a threat to national security.
  • Anti-India campaigners allege that Indian troops were stationed in a fast patrol vessel India recently gifted to Maldives Coast Guard. The ship was commissioned as CGS Huravee.
  • In 2021, the Solih government told a Parliamentary committee on national security that Yameen had signed off on an Action Plan on Defence Cooperation between Maldives and India during his 2016 visit to India when he was the island-nation’s President.
  • The UTF project was one of 10 areas for cooperation outlined in the signed during that visit, and the steps taken by the present government were part of this plan.

Recent gifts

  • In 2020, India had gifted a Dornier aircraft to Maldives and in 2019 handed over a patrol vessel.
  • Last year, New Delhi had also given a coastal radar system to Male.
  • Last year, Modi had announced that India will provide 24 vehicles and a naval boat and will build police facilities on 61 islands of the country.


  • The handing over of these vessels are in line with India’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) 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.
  • Maldives is among India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and New Delhi has been seeking to expand ties with Male — including in areas of defence and security — amid China’s efforts to expand its influence in the region.

About Maldives

  • The Maldives is an archipelagic state in South Asia, situated in the Indian Ocean.
  • It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 750 kilometres from the Asian continent's mainland.
  • The Maldives' chain of 26 atolls stretches across the equator from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to Addu Atoll in the south.
  • Maldives is one of the world's most geographically dispersed sovereign states and the smallest Asian country as well as one of the smallest Muslim-majority countries by land area and, the 2nd least populous country in Asia.
  • Malé is the capital and the most populated city, traditionally called the "King's Island" where the ancient royal dynasties ruled for its central location.
  • The Maldivian Archipelago is located on the Chagos–Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean; this also forms a terrestrial ecoregion, together with the Chagos Archipelago and Lakshadweep.
  • The Maldives became a founding member of SAARC. It is also a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • The World Bank classifies the Maldives as having an upper-middle income economy.
  • The Maldives was a member of the Commonwealth of Nations from 1982 until withdrawing from the organisation in 2016 in protest of allegations by other nations of its human rights abuses and failing democracy.
  • The Maldives rejoined the Commonwealth in 2020 after showing evidence of functioning democratic processes and popular support.



India Maldives Relations: https://www.iasgyan.in/rstv/india-maldives

India Maldives Defence Relations: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/india-maldives-defence-relations 


Q) Which of the following statements with reference to Maldives is/are correct?

a. It is the smallest Asian country.

b. The Maldivian Archipelago is located on the Chagos–Laccadive Ridge.

c. It is not a member of the Commonwealth.

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Correct Answer: I