India's Development Push in Maldives Continues Amidst Strained Relations
India's Development Push in Maldives Continues Amidst Strained Relations

Despite tensions over Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu's call for Indian troops to leave, India is ramping up development aid to the island nation.

As major global players vie for influence in the Indo-Pacific, India and China are both seeking to court the Maldives. Traditionally aligned with India, the Maldives has recently shifted towards China under Muizzu's leadership.

New Delhi has allocated nearly 7.71 billion rupees ($93 million), nearly double its budgeted amount, for projects in the Maldives this fiscal year, which ends in March. This commitment underscores India's determination to continue its development assistance despite the strained ties since Muizzu took office and advocated for the removal of Indian troops.

An Indian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that development cooperation with Male remains unchanged, with projects progressing at an accelerated pace. This increased momentum is attributed to India's augmented allocations for the Maldives this fiscal year.

Muizzu's office has not yet responded to requests for comment. However, India's efforts include significant projects such as a $500-million initiative for road and bridge construction around Male, as well as two airport projects valued at nearly $130 million each in remote Maldivian islands, supported by Indian lines of credit.

Although Muizzu recently visited Beijing, he has not yet made a similar trip to India. Both countries have agreed to replace Indian troops with Indian aid workers by May. These troops have primarily provided humanitarian aid and assisted with medical evacuations using Indian-provided aircraft.

According to Indian budget documents, spending in the Maldives has increased from 1.83 billion rupees in fiscal year 2022-23 to 7.71 billion this year, making it the second-highest recipient of Indian aid after neighboring Bhutan. India has allocated 6 billion rupees for Maldivian projects next year.

Despite India's concerns, Male's growing engagement with Beijing was evident when it allowed a Chinese research vessel to dock at its port. India views the presence of non-regional powers, particularly China, in the Indian Ocean as a security threat.

India remains vigilant about safeguarding its interests in the region amidst growing competition and geopolitical dynamics.

India's Enhanced Development Assistance to Maldives: Expenditure Surges to ₹771 Crore

Maldives Enhances Defense Post Indian Troop To Leave

Maldives President Muizzu Announces Withdrawal of Indian Troops by May 10

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