The Maldives assured the Indian leadership of its ‘India first policy’ — an affirmation which comes amid chill in bilateral ties over a host of issues, including the signing of an FTA between the Maldives and China.
- Maldives signed its first country-specific FTA with China in 2017 and thereby becoming China‟s 2nd FTA in South Asia after Pakistan. The Maldives opposition opposed the FTA arguing that it will deepen the debt trap to China, wherein more than 70% of Maldives‟ foreign debt is owed to China.
- India has asserted for Maldives to continue follow „India First‟ policy thereby ensuring that Maldives does not become a client state of China and therefore India should ensure its strategic stronghold in Maldives.
- Both countries signed four agreements relating to cooperation for information technology, culture, agri-business, and visa arrangements.
- Maldives has provided assurances to be fully sensitive to India‟s security and strategic concerns
- Both countries would enhance maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region with closer cooperation of Indian Navy and Coast Guard with Maldives counterpart for coordinated patrolling, aerial surveillance and capacity building.