Enthusiasm for the New Delhi agreement for the U.S.-Maldives defence pact stands in stark contrast to the circumstances in which the United States recently proposed a defence agreement with the Maldives. While the Maldives and the United States had previously cooperated on security matters, India had previously opposed a draft agreement on the status of the armed forces between the two countries. That was in 2013. At this point, signing a defense pact, officials said, signaled a clear move from Male away from China on the security front. New Delhi: In New Delhi, as a sign of a change in dynamics, there is strong support for the maldives-US protection framework agreement, a pact that firmly places the island state on the “indopapagian” side of the emerging geopolitical maritime divide, in which the United States and its allies oppose China. The agreement sends a timely signal to China when Indian and Chinese soldiers are locked in a deadlock on the effective line of control in Ladakh. “It is significant that the Maldives has taken a strategic position and signed this agreement with the United States and not with China, even though it is part of the BIS (Belt and Road Initiative),” the official added, suggesting that the decision could also be a blow to China`s infrastructure projects in the Maldives. The United States and the tiny Indian Ocean islands in the Maldives reached a defense agreement on September 10. According to a U.S. Department of Defense press release, the Framework for U.S. Department of Defense-Maldives Ministry of Defense and Security Relationship represents an “intention to deepen engagement and cooperation for peace and security in the Indian Ocean” and represents an important step forward in the defense partnership. The United States has signed a defense cooperation framework with the Maldives to deepen the commitment to peace and security in the strategic Indian Ocean, as announced by the Pentagon, as the Trump administration seeks to strengthen alliances in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China`s growing presence in the region.
U.S. contributions contribute to the economic development of the Maldives through international organizing programs. Following the December 2004 tsunami, the United States and Maldives signed an $8.6 million bilateral aid agreement for reconstruction assistance. The United States has also directly funded training in airport management and drug prohibition. The United States has also provided desktop computers for customs, immigration and drug control efforts. In a sign of growing maritime proximity between New Delhi and Washington, New Delhi welcomed the Maldives government`s decision to sign a military agreement with the United States, the first to sign Male with a country other than India. In the past, New Delhi had reticent both the United States and China to expand their strategic footprint in this part of the Indian Ocean, considered India`s “sphere of influence.”