In the case of Maldives, it’s not the size but the location that makes it strategically significant. Explain in the context of India’s neighbourhood first approach.

Maldives is an island nation located in India’s close proximity in the Indian Ocean Region.

Despite its small size, Strategic significance for India:

  • Freedom of navigation in Indian Ocean Region, in backdrop of Chinese hegemony.
  • Role of India as a net security provider in the region.
  • Indian Diaspora strength in Maldives, & safeguarding their interests.
  • Securing maritime trade routes. E.g., China’s recent investment & leasing of Maldivian ports is a threat to maritime trade.

In context of India’s neighbourhood first policy:

  • Maldives is an important part of regional blocs, such as BIMSTEC & crucial to their success.
  • Maldives economic & general prosperity is crucial to Asian century’s prosperity.
  • Tourism and other trade exchanges with India.

Steps taken by India:

  • Economic – Increasing Trade and Tourism
  • Disaster Management – Early warning Tsunami System
  • Humanitarian aids
  • Joint Exercises

Way forward:

India should walk the talk by delivering commitments on High Impact Development Projects.

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