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Maldives Defense and Foreign Policy

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).

  • Countryaah: 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 sharply.

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.

Defense and Foreign Policy of MaldivesWith 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 entry.

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 Seychelles.

2010

December

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.

August

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).

June

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.


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