Maldives-China Agreement for Acquiring Non-Lethal Equipment

The Maldives has recently signed a military assistance agreement with China, marking a significant development in the diplomatic and military relations between the two countries. Under this newly inked agreement, the Maldives will receive free “non-lethal” military equipment and training from China’s military. President Mohamed Muizzu, who is widely seen as a pro-China leader, has emphasized that this agreement will further strengthen the Indian Ocean island nation’s independence and autonomy.

Details of the Agreement

The military assistance agreement was signed by Maldives Defence Minister Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon and Major General Zhang Baoqun, Deputy Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China.

President Muizzu, shared some insights about the agreement. He stated that China and Maldives have always maintained military cooperation, and the only new development with this agreement is the assistance Maldives will receive to strengthen its military capacity. The agreement will provide the Maldives’ military with various forms of training and non-lethal military equipment free of charge, which will increase the technical capacity of the defense forces.

Non-Lethal Weaponry

According to President Muizzu, the non-lethal weaponry provided under this agreement would include tear gas, pepper spray, and similar articles of weapons. These tools are often used for crowd control and law enforcement purposes, and their inclusion in the agreement suggests that the Maldives is looking to enhance its internal security capabilities.

Strengthening Independence and Autonomy

President Muizzu emphasized that the agreement with China is aimed at enabling the Maldives to stand on its own two feet and maintain its autonomy and independence. By receiving training and equipment from China, the Maldives hopes to bolster its defense forces and reduce its reliance on other nations for military support.

Implications for India-Maldives Relations

The stepping up of military relations between the Maldives and China comes at a time when President Muizzu has affirmed that no Indian military personnel, not even those in civilian clothing, would be present inside his country after May 10. This development follows Muizzu’s formal request to India, made soon after taking oath as the President of Maldives on November 17, to withdraw 88 military personnel from his country by March 15.

Muizzu’s stance on Indian military presence in the Maldives and his efforts to strengthen ties with China have raised concerns about the future of India-Maldives relations. Traditionally, newly-elected Maldivian presidents used to make their first foreign visit to New Delhi, but Muizzu chose to visit Beijing in January, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders.

 


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