The View from India | Are Maldives and India patching up

Updated - May 14, 2024 10:46 am IST

Published - May 13, 2024 12:03 pm IST

In this Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 file photo, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with President of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu during the COP28, in UAE.

In this Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 file photo, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with President of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu during the COP28, in UAE. | Photo Credit:

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The recent visit of Foreign Minister of Maldives Moosa Zameer to New Delhi was significant for many reasons. It was the first high-level visit from the Indian Ocean archipelago since President Mohamed Muizzu was elected to office in September 2023, following an emphatic poll pledge to ensure Indian military personnel leave the country. Significantly, the visit came just after the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC), led by Mr. Muizzu, secured a landslide win in the country’s general elections.

“Minister Zameer’s first official visit to India reflects the strong support and commitment between the two countries. It marks a new initiative of collaboration, symbolising enduring friendship and shared goals,” the Maldivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement following his visit. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, in turn, said India’s relations with Maldives rest on the twin important pillars of “mutual interests” and “reciprocal sensitivity”.

The statements appeared to signal a reckoning from both sides. Despite significant tensions, mainly over the ‘India Out’ campaign spearheaded by Mr. Muizzu , and later the controversial remarks on Indian social media discouraging tourism to Maldives, New Delhi will have to recognise the power that President Muizzu now wields, both as the Executive, and in the legislature.

Malé, on the other hand, is showing that it acknowledges the need to work with its closest neighbour and an important development partner. There are growing indications of that. Days after 76 Indian defence personnel left the island nation at the instance of Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, Maldivian Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon has said that Maldives military does not have pilots capable of operating three aircraft donated by India. After treading on a tense diplomatic path for months, the two countries are now in a position to mend and reset ties, if those in power choose pragmatism and long-term mutual interests over myopic political and strategic gains.

R&AW in focus

With India’s external intelligence agency R&AW (Research and Analysis Wing) back in the spotlight over alleged targeting and killing of Indian-origin Khalistani separatist operatives around the world, the Ministry of External Affairs has said: “Obviously, there are political interests at work.”

Days after Canada arrested three individuals in connection with the June 2023 murder of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, New Delhi said Ottawa has not provided any ‘official communique’. Kallol Bhattacherjee reports. Further, in a strong message to Canada, India noted that a civilised society will not glorify violence. Will R&AW’s overseas operations affect ties? Suhasini Haidar breaks it down for us.

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