India-Maldives Diplomatic Tensions Eased As Essential Commodities Quota Renewed

  • Posted on April 06, 2024
  • National
  • By Admin

After months of diplomatic tension, India has renewed its quota for the Maldives to import essential commodities during the years 2024 and 2025. This move comes as a significant step towards resolving recent strains in bilateral relations between the two nations.

The announcement was made through social media platforms, with the Maldives' Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moosa Zameer, expressing gratitude towards India and its External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar, for the renewal of the quota. In his statement, Zameer emphasized the importance of the gesture in strengthening the longstanding friendship between the Maldives and India, as well as in expanding bilateral trade and commerce.

In response, India's External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar, reiterated India's commitment to its 'Neighbourhood First' and Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) policies. These policies prioritize fostering closer ties and cooperation with neighboring countries and enhancing security and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region.

The renewal of the quota follows a request from the Maldives government and is executed under a special bilateral mechanism. According to the Indian High Commission, the approved quantities are the highest recorded since the establishment of the arrangement in 1981.

The decision to renew the quota aligns with India's SAGAR policy, which emphasizes maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean region, and underscores the 'Neighbourhood First' Policy, which seeks to prioritize relations with neighboring countries.

This development is particularly significant given the recent diplomatic tensions between India and the Maldives. Strains in relations arose following President Mohamed Muizzu's demand for the repatriation of Indian military personnel and controversies surrounding social media posts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 1981 India-Maldives trade agreement facilitates the export of essential commodities, and bilateral trade between the two nations has seen steady growth over the years. The recent announcement includes a five percent increase in quotas for various commodities such as eggs, potatoes, onions, sugar, rice, wheat flour, and dal (pulses). Notably, quotas for river sand and stone aggregates, crucial for the Maldives' construction industry, have been raised by 25 percent to 10,00,000 MT each.

The renewal of quotas for essential commodities holds immense significance for the Maldives' development, especially considering its geographical constraints and the necessity for construction materials like river sand and stone aggregates.

As both countries reaffirm their commitment to fostering closer ties and addressing mutual concerns, the renewal of the essential commodities quota marks a positive step towards strengthening bilateral relations between India and the Maldives.


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