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Maldives Shifts Defense Strategy with New Agreement: Aligning with China Amidst Geopolitical Shifts

March 5, 2024 3:13 am

Maldives Shifts Defense Strategy with New Agreement: Aligning with China Amidst Geopolitical Shifts

Minister of Defense Ghassan Maumoon meets with the Deputy Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation, China, Major General Zhang Baoqun on March 04, 2024

In a significant move reflecting shifting geopolitical dynamics, the Maldives government signed an agreement with China on Monday, extending military assistance at no cost. The agreement, inked by Major General Zhang Baoqun from the Office for International Military Cooperation of China and Maldives Minister of Defense Ghassan Maumoon, underscores a strategic realignment in the Indian Ocean region.

Major General Zhang’s visit to discuss defense cooperation highlighted the growing ties between the two nations. This agreement comes amidst the Maldives government’s pledge, led by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, to reshape its defense strategy, including the removal of Indian military personnel stationed in the country.

President Dr. Muizzu’s administration has emphasized a departure from foreign military presence, particularly from India, aligning with his campaign promises. The decision to deport Indian soldiers operating gifted aircraft and helicopters from India signifies a pivot away from the previous administration’s pro-Indian stance.

Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s government, affiliated with the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), had maintained robust ties with India, earning him the label of a “pro-Indian” leader in international media. In contrast, President Dr. Muizzu has been characterized as “pro-China,” reflecting his administration’s pursuit of closer relations with Beijing.

President Dr. Muizzu’s stance remains steadfastly focused on advancing Maldives’ interests, asserting that his allegiance lies with the nation above all else. Since taking office, his administration has fostered a strong partnership with China, signaling a strategic shift in the Maldives’ foreign policy outlook.

As the Maldives navigates evolving geopolitical dynamics, the signing of the military assistance agreement with China marks a pivotal moment in reshaping the nation’s defense strategy and its broader geopolitical positioning in the Indian Ocean region.

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