Male: India has signed an agreement of 50 million defence cooperation with the Maldives after it slammed China’s One Belt One Road’ plan by investing heavily in its infrastructure. The deal was made between the two countries during India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to the Maldives. Jaishankar announced that the Maldives is India’s partner in development and defence. Likewise, the Defence Minister of Maldives, Mariya Didi, has said that India is a trusted ally of her country.
The Foreign Minister of India, S. Jaishankar, is on a four-day tour. He started his tour from the Maldives and has signed various agreements with the country. Wherein, India has given a 50-million line of credit to the Maldives to develop the defence sector. Under this, Maldives can procure defence equipment from India for its security. This will benefit not only the Maldives but also India’s security.
The two sides also discussed issues like counter-terrorism cooperation. Foreign Minister Jaishankar and Defence Minister Mariya Didi agreed that the territorial waters between India and the Maldives should not be allowed for terrorist activities. Besides, cooperation agreements on public broadcasting, urban development, roads and house construction have been signed. Earlier, in August last year, India had announced a 500-million investment in infrastructure in the Maldives.
China had tried to bring the Maldives under its control by overthrowing it but was unsuccessful. Even now, China is preparing to trap the Maldives in its debt-trap by taking advantage of Coronavirus’ situation and internal disputes. The Maldives is a significant country for China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) project, for which China is willing to pay a heavy price. But India had shocked China by announcing an investment of about $500 million in the Maldives. The leaders of the Maldives also welcomed India’s investment by saying India was a trusted ally. Against this backdrop, India’s cooperation with the Maldives is of strategic importance. After visiting the Maldives, Foreign Minister Jaishankar will arrive in Mauritius on Monday.