Foreign policy and defense
In the international context, the Maldives
emphasizes the fight against climate change. The country
is particularly concerned about a good relationship with
the nearest neighboring countries India and Sri Lanka.
During the Yamin government (2013–2018) relations with
India were strained by the Maldives' approach to China.
Climate issues are central to low-lying island
nations like the Maldives, which risk being completely
submerged if sea levels rise as a result of climate
change. The country has hosted several regional and
international conferences on the subject several times.
Former President Mohamed Nashid held a particularly high
profile on the issue (see Modern History).
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Maldives for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The Maldives spreads across one of the world's
busiest waters and thus holds a strategically important
position. During the 2010s, the Maldives became more and
more important to the two Asian superpowers China and
India. During Abdulla Yamin's reign as president, ties
and dependence were strengthened by China, and the
country was heavily indebted to Beijing. Trade between
the two countries increased rapidly, as did Chinese
investment in infrastructure in the Maldives. The number
of Chinese tourists visiting the Maldives also increased
Under President Solih, the Maldives has once again
strengthened ties with India, providing extensive aid to
the island public and funding military investments such
as radar systems and training centers. India and the
Maldives also cooperate against piracy, terrorism,
organized crime and smuggling through the patrol of the
waters, air surveillance and information exchange.
With Sri Lanka, the Maldives cooperates primarily in
tourism, trade, energy, fishing and telecommunications.
Maldives' contacts with the UN, the EU, the US and
other western countries deteriorated during the Yamin
government because of the growing democratic
shortcomings. Relations improved rapidly after Solih's
Under President Yamin, the Maldives withdrew from the
Commonwealth in October 2016 following criticism from
the organization against the government's growing
authoritarian rule. In December 2018, Solih's coalition
government applied for re-entry into the Commonwealth,
which was realized in February 2020.
In 2016, the Maldives broke diplomatic relations with
Iran. The official explanation was that the Maldives
considered that Iran was undermining the peace and
security of the Persian Gulf. Behind the decision was
also Saudi Arabia, whose relations with Iran in recent
years have greatly deteriorated and which promised large
sums of assistance to the Maldives. Iran and the
Maldives established diplomatic relations in 1975 but
have never held embassies or consulates with each other.
The Maldives lack a proper defense. There is a
semi-military national defense force that consists of
about 2,000 men and handles both internal and external
security. The Maldives regularly conduct military
exercises together with mainly India and cooperate in
security matters also with Sri Lanka, Mauritius and
Seven ministers are forced to step down
President Nashid is being pressured by the DRP-led opposition in Parliament
and forced to replace seven of his ministers since the opposition demanded it.
UN experts to the rescue
The UN sends legal experts to the Maldives to try to help resolve the
political crisis, where the opposition in Parliament opposes the government's
reform proposals (see June 2010).
Stalemate in Parliament
The MDP-led government is accusing the opposition, with the DRP at the
forefront, for making the country impossible to rule by opposing any reform
proposals by the government parties. All ministers resign since the opposition
threatened to direct a distrust vote against each of them. The government is
reinstated a week later but the deadlock in Parliament remains.