ARE INDO-MALDIVIAN RELATIONS STRAINED?
However, among the many grievances in social media posts by prominent members of ‘India Out’ campaign, a recurring complaint is the lack of transparency in agreements being signed between the Solih government and India.
It is a fact that much of the criticism leveled by the Maldivian opposition and the ‘India Out’ campaign wouldn’t have arisen had these bilateral agreements been publicly discussed in the Maldivian Parliament. But the ruling government and the defence ministry describing these agreements as confidential has led to agitation in political circles that percolated down to ordinary Maldivian nationals and has taken the form of a wave of criticism, inflammatory rhetoric and unverified allegations, especially on social media platforms.
Fundamentally, the issue is not so complex though it involves bilateral relations, geopolitical and economic interests for both countries. However, both the governments have acted in a mature manner in this regard. Both of them are aware of the increasing defence importance of Maldives in the Indian Ocean, due to the increased US interest in the Indo-Pacific and Maldives’ strategic position. In addition to the fact that the Maldivians need to have India on their side to guard the nation’s defence and commercial interests.