China Strengthens Ties with Maldives Through Defense Cooperation and Military Aid

Maldives Signs Defence Deal With China

Male: In a strategic move that underscores the shifting geopolitical dynamics in the Indian Ocean, China has inked a defense cooperation agreement with the Maldives, offering military aid at no cost. This development, announced on Monday, follows closely on the heels of Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu’s directive for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel stationed in the archipelago.

The pact, signed by Maldives Defence Minister Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon and China’s Major General Baoqun, aims to bolster the bilateral relations between Male and Beijing. The Maldivian defense ministry took to its social media handle to announce the signing, though the specifics of the agreement remain under wraps.

This defense deal arrives amidst a backdrop of heightened security concerns from India, particularly after the Maldives permitted the Chinese research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 03 to dock for personnel rotation and resupply. China’s Foreign Ministry has defended the vessel’s activities, asserting their peaceful intent and contribution to global oceanic scientific knowledge.

Maldives Signs Defence Deal With China

The timeline for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel, as set by President Muizzu, underscores his pro-China stance and commitment to fulfilling his electoral promise. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has indicated that the replacement of technical personnel for the operation of advanced light helicopters is underway, with a complete transition expected by May 10.

President Muizzu’s ascendancy to power has marked a departure from the previously India-aligned administration, with over a hundred bilateral agreements under review. This recalibration of the Maldives’ foreign policy and defense alliances reflects a nuanced approach to international relations within the region.