India-Maldives sign MoU on Judicial Co-operation
29th Jul, 2022
The Union Cabinet recently approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the field of judicial cooperation, between India and Judicial Service Commission of Maldives.
- This is the eighth MoU signed between India and other countries in the field of Judicial Cooperation.
India and Maldives:
- India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links.
- India was among the first to recognize the Maldives after its independence in 1965 and later established its mission at Male in 1972.
- Maldives’ proximity to the west coast of India and its situation at the hub of commercial sea-lanes running through the Indian Ocean, and its potential to allow a third nation’s naval presence in the area imbues it with significant strategic importance to India.
- India has a pre-eminent position in the Maldives, with relations extending to virtually most areas.
- India’s policy of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and Maldives’ policy of ‘India First’ seem to be in absolute sync with each other.
Neighborhood First Policy:
- It is a core component of India’s foreign policy, focuses on peaceful relations and collaborative synergetic co-development with its South Asian neighbors of the Indian subcontinent encompassing a diverse range of topics, such as economic, technology, research and education, connectivity (digital, surface and air transport, energy grid connectivity, logistic chains, etc.), space program, defense security, environment and climate challenge.
- It is important to note that the broad bilateral ties between the two countries rest on the foundation of mutual trust, understanding and sensitivity to each other’s concerns.
Significance of the Maldives for India
- Strategic Importance: The Maldives is geographically positioned like a ‘toll gate’ between the western Indian Ocean chokepoints of the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Hormuz on the one hand, and the eastern Indian Ocean chokepoint of the Strait of Malacca on the other.
- Economic Value: It is situated at the hub of commercial sea-lanes running through the Indian Ocean. More than 97% of India’s international trade by volume and 75% by value passes through the region. It's potential to allow a third nation’s naval presence in the area.
- Political and Regional Security:
- Since China’s naval expansion into the Indian Ocean, Maldives significance has steadily grown and now it’s at the heart of international geopolitics.
- Moreover, the Maldives is an important aspect of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
- ‘India First’ has been a stated policy of the Government of Maldives.
- Maldives is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC).
- Indian Community in Maldives:There is a significant Indian diaspora in the Maldives. Innumerable Indians work across the hospitality, education, and health-care sectors of the Maldives economy.
Quick facts about Maldives
- The Republic of the Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean.
- It is an archipelago comprising approximately 1,200 islands with a geographical spread over 90,000 sq.km
- Incorporating some 26 atolls, the Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries, and is a 99 per cent water-nation.
- Maldives is the lowest-lying country on the planet. With the highest elevation being just 2.3 meters (7 feet 7 inches) above sea level, the archipelago has the world’s lowest naturally-occurring ‘highest-point’.