Us Maldives Agreement

Geplaatst door MCautreels op 19 december 2020

On September 10, 2020, Washington and Malé signed the Framework for U.S. Department of Defense-Maldives Ministry of Defense defense and Security Relationship. The agreement would aim to deepen bilateral efforts to maintain peace and security in the Indian Ocean region (IOC). The Maldives defence minister said the framework reaffirms the mutual commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific country. But the impact of this agreement on the IOC`s security architecture is far deeper than it has been expected. The chinaTent discourse on global security architecture and international politics has been focused on China for the better part of the 21st century. The fixation of China has given rise to a relaxed and indefinite security grouping of Australia, India, Japan and the United States (the “Quad”), which has also redesigned the geographical extent of the Asia-Pacific region as an Indo-Pacific area. This has made Beijing`s mandarins far too wary. The defence agreement between the Maldives and the United States only confirmed the indopapacific approach and general global concerns about China. For the Maldives, the agreement is more important. Under the government (2013-18) of former President Abdulla Yameen, who is currently in prison, the Maldives has moved closer to China, so its traditional benefactors are concerned about bilateral relations.

The concern was not only about political bonhomie and economic cooperation, but also about the strategic consequences it had had. First, the Maldives, like its neighbour Sri Lanka, travels critical maritime communication routes (SLOC) within the IOC. To secure this SLOC, Beijing has begun to invest its military, economic and political capital in the IOR and beyond. The Malé-Washington Defence Agreement aims not only to counter this scope and to weigh in on the IOR, but also to restore U.S. supremacy in the region. Second, the Maldives is close to the US military installation in the British Indian Ocean territory of Diego Garcia. In view of the ongoing dispute (between the United Kingdom and Mauritius) over Diego Garcia`s assets, despite the (non-binding) ruling of the International Court of Justice in favour of Mauritius, the Malé-Washington agreement indicates that the United States is diversifying the sites of its military presence in the IOR. For the United States, which has not yet reached a formal security agreement with the Maldives, the pact allows for an effective U.S. presence and engagement not only in the wider space, but also in the more active seas of the IOC.

Third, the Maldives archipelago is located near the port of Hambantota, Sri Lanka, funded by China and later detained. This port project now symbolizes the negative aspects of China`s global advertising through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and remains a concern for India`s regional security and strategic architecture. India Vantage PointThe defence agreement, which has been in place for nearly a decade, was reportedly broken at New Delhi`s request in 2014 by former Maldives President Yameen.