What Foreign Relations Does the Maldives Have


The Maldives is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean, and it has a unique relationship with many countries around the world. Foreign relations of the Maldives are complex and varied, with numerous diplomatic and trade agreements in place. In this blog post, we will explore the history of foreign relations of the Maldives, as well as its current relations with other countries. We will also discuss the importance of foreign relations for the Maldives and how it helps to shape its future.

The Maldives and India

The foreign relations between the Maldives and India have been strong and mutually beneficial for both countries since the former’s independence in 1965. India is the Maldives’ closest neighbor and has played an important role in the development and security of the island nation. India has assisted in the form of economic aid and military training, with several Indian nationals employed in key positions within the Maldivian government. Both countries have agreed to work closely on matters such as maritime security, anti-piracy efforts, and counter-terrorism initiatives. India also regularly sends medical teams and specialist staff to the Maldives for various relief and support operations.

The Maldives and Sri Lanka

Foreign relations between the Maldives and Sri Lanka are friendly and cooperative. The two countries share many cultural and religious ties, which have helped to foster positive relations between them. In 2018, President Maithripala Sirisena visited the Maldives on an official state visit, and in return, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom of Maldives visited Sri Lanka in the same year. Both countries have engaged in several trade agreements and signed memorandums of understanding to strengthen their bilateral ties. In addition, both countries have agreed to cooperate on issues such as maritime security, climate change, and sustainable development.

The Maldives and Pakistan

Foreign relations between the Maldives and Pakistan have always been cordial since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1976. The Maldives opened its first embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan in 1978 and an honorary consulate in Karachi in 1992. Over the years, both countries have exchanged high-level visits, and the two countries have signed various agreements in areas such as trade, tourism, fisheries, education, and health. Pakistani investors have also invested in various sectors in the Maldives, including the hotel and tourism industry. In 2008, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Mohammad Azhar visited the Maldives for a three-day official visit, during which he and President Mohamed Nasheed agreed to upgrade the diplomatic relations between the two countries to a higher level. In 2015, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom visited Pakistan on a three-day official visit to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

During his visit, President Yameen and Prime Minister Sharif signed an agreement on economic cooperation to boost economic development in both countries. Additionally, both governments regularly exchange views on matters of mutual interest and cooperate closely at regional and multilateral levels. Both countries are members of international organizations like the United Nations and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The Maldives and Pakistan continue to foster strong bilateral ties that are mutually beneficial for their respective citizens.

The Maldives and Bangladesh

Foreign relations of the Maldives with Bangladesh are largely positive, with both countries having close cultural and economic ties. The Maldives is an important trade partner for Bangladesh in the Indian Ocean, importing many goods and materials such as fabrics and apparel, pharmaceuticals, and various food items. Furthermore, Bangladeshis make up a large part of the tourist industry in the Maldives. There is a good level of cooperation between the two nations on issues such as terrorism and climate change. Bangladesh has provided aid to the Maldives in areas such as health and education, and regularly hosts Maldivian students for educational purposes.

The Maldives and China

The foreign relations between the Maldives and China have strengthened over the years. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1974, both nations have maintained close economic and political ties. China has assisted the Maldives in the areas of infrastructure, healthcare, education, and defense. Chinese companies are involved in major projects in the country, including the development of the Malé International Airport and the Sinamale Bridge. China is also an important trade partner of the Maldives, with Chinese imports and exports accounting for a large percentage of the nation’s economy. In 2018, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih visited Beijing and declared his commitment to enhancing bilateral relations.

The Maldives and the United States

The foreign relations between the Maldives and the United States are considered to be excellent. The US is one of the few countries that have no diplomatic missions in the Maldives, yet maintains strong bilateral relations and cooperation. The United States has provided extensive development assistance to the Maldives, including military training and economic aid. The US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs oversees US policy and diplomacy in the region, which includes the Maldives. The two countries work closely together on security issues such as counter-terrorism, piracy, and humanitarian support.

The Maldives and Saudi Arabia

Foreign relations of the Maldives with Saudi Arabia are strong, and the two countries cooperate in areas such as security, economics, and development. The Maldives is a signatory to the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and was among the first countries to open an embassy in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia provides support in many ways, such as providing financial aid, scholarships, and humanitarian assistance. In 2016, the Maldivian President, Abdulla Yameen, made an official visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss issues of mutual interest. The two countries signed several memorandums of understanding (MOUs) including those on military cooperation, youth and sports, and tourism. In 2019, the King of Saudi Arabia paid a state visit to the Maldives, further strengthening ties between the two nations.