In the latest episode of Policy Beyond Borders, we discuss with Dr Gulbin Sultana, the foreign policy perspective of Maldives’ newly elected President, Mr. Mohammed Muizzu, with India. Additionally, we engage in a discussion on the potential collaborative opportunities that can be harnessed between India and Maldives highlighting the non-conventional sectors including agriculture, tourism, people-to-people connectivity, and the space sector.

Speaker: Dr Gulbin Sultana, Associate Fellow, South Asia Centre, Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA)

Moderator: Neelima A, Associate Research, CPPR

Key Takeaways:

Mr Mohammed Muizzu, the new president of Maldives, is set to diverge from the foreign policy strategies employed by his predecessors – specifically, Mr Abdulla Yameen, who was pro-China, and Mr Ibrahim Mohammed Solih, who exhibited a closer affiliation with India. Muizzu aims to pursue a more balanced foreign policy approach that involves engagement with both India and China. Importantly, this shift will not disrupt the ongoing collaboration in the defense and security sectors.

Following the election, Mr Muizzu articulated his stance by asserting that he does not align himself exclusively with either China or India. Instead, he emphasized his pro-Maldivian position, indicating his commitment to engaging with other nations to advance the well-being and development of the Maldives.

India should continue to invest in high-impact community projects in Maldives. These projects will directly benefit people and will prevent the misinformation spreading among the community as seen in the case of the removal of Indian Military troops from Maldives.

India has the potential to make significant contributions to the Maldives, particularly in the tourism sector. This was evident in the post-COVID period when Indian tourists played a crucial role in revitalizing the Maldivian tourism industry.

Moreover, there is potential for collaboration between India and the Maldives across various sectors such as agriculture, education with a focus on skill enhancement, space technology, and more. It is crucial, however, that the impetus for such collaboration comes from the Maldivian side, with specific demands and requirements driving the mutually beneficial engagement.

India needs to speed up project completion, not just in the Maldives but in other countries too, to build trust and support from local communities. It’s important to work more efficiently and finish projects quickly for a positive impact.

In our previous episode Maldivelection 2023 and its geopolitical implications, we had a pre-election discussion with Mr. Mimrah Abdul Gafoor, a political analyst from the Maldives. If you haven’t listened to it yet, do check it out!

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