Maldives seeks India’s support in improving civil-military ties

The Maldives, whose relations with India have been on an upswing since Ibu Solih took over as its President last September, has sought Delhi’s assistance in improving the civil-military ties in the archipelago nation.

Maldives defence chief Abdullah Shamaal has discussed the issue with Indian officials during a visit to Delhi last week. The Maldives is seeking to replicate the Indian model in improving the relations between its defence forces and the civilian leadership.

During a visit of the Maldivian defence minister to Delhi earlier this year, Shamaal had taken a back seat, enabling the minister to engage with his interlocutors on all issues, the people said. Even during the Yameen regime, when the Maldives’ ties with India were lukewarm, its military had maintained a cordial relationship with Delhi and the armed forces here.

Shamaal, an alumnus of the Indian Defence Staff College, also explored new dimensions of counter-terror partnership, including close monitoring of the movement of citizens between the two countries. Since the April 21 Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives are partnering closely to track down the radicals, monitor their movements and launch de-radicalisation initiatives. Southern Indian states are vulnerable to the presence of radicals in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

During his visit to Delhi, Shamaal also delivered a lecture on ‘National Security Vulnerabilities: Issues for the Small States’.

India has been providing swift help to its neighbours at times of natural calamities and security threats, and it is all set to play the key role of a “security guarantor” for peace and stability within the greater Indian Ocean region, Shamaal said on Friday amid China’s growing presence in the region.

“India has been (providing) customary security guaranteeing architecture for decades if not centuries. This is quite evident by the prompt and swift response of Indian Army services on various occasions,” he said.

Calling the Indo-Pacific region an economically and socially dynamic area, Shamaal said India is set to play the key role of a “security guarantor” for peace and stability within the greater Indian Ocean region.

On Thursday, Shamaal met defence minister Rajnath Singh and Indian Air Force chief BS Dhanoa and discussed ways to step up military and security cooperation through more structured and planned programmes. During his trip to Male on June 8, the first foreign visit in his second term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Solih expanded defence partnerships by jointly inaugurating a coastal surveillance radar system and a composite training centre for the Maldives defence forces — both supported by India.

India common factor in trilaterals of global powers on Friday in Argentina

India has emerged as common factor for global powers USA, Russia and China besides Japan as two trilaterals are all set to be held in the Argentinian capital on Friday aiming to bring stability in geo-politics and geo-economies.

The first ever trilateral ‘JAI’ between Japan, America and India and the 2nd Russia India China (RIC) trilateral after an interval of 12 years will take place in Buenos Aires on Friday. The two trilaterals clearly signal strategic autonomy that marks Indian Foreign policy approach wherein Delhi is not part of just one block.

ET was the first to report that RIC Summit will happen in Argentina besides meeting between Indian PM and Presidents of USA, Russia & China on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit.

This is first ever JAI at the Summit level. Over the last few years it has been upgraded to Foreign Minister level. RIC at Foreign Minister level has been an annual feature for over a decade now.

Sources told ET that timing of meeting directly related to period of major global developments.

It is indicative of India’s growing diplomatic and economic profile in the world.

Today India is a global engine of economic growth and will be in top 5 economies of the world and a factor of stability in the region, sources said, adding recognition of India assuming leadership role on global issues of people’s concerns such as climate change, renewable energy, corruption and disaster resilient infrastructure

“It is also a reflection of our willingness to contribute in a positive and a constructive way in strengthening multilateral institutions like WTO and trying to build a consensus on new ideas like Indo-Pacific. Further it is fruition of India’s efforts and leadership role in building awareness and consensus on key global challenges,” another source said.

Meanwhile, the Indian PM on day one of his trip to Argentina will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohd Bin Salman on the sidelines of the G-20 summit on Thursday.

In recent years, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been a valuable partner. The relationship has expanded beyond the Indian community to issues related to the economy, energy and security. All issues of bilateral and regional interest will be discussed. Oil supplies and oil prices besides Saudi investments in India are expected to figure in Modi-Salman meet.

The UN Secretary General has reached out to the PM for the second time in two months. This outreach comes just a week before COP24 in Katowice, Poland. It reflects the respect in which PM and his initiatives are held globally to take the lead on issues of global importance, sources claimed.