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Maldives Defence Minister sees bigger role for India in securing Indian Ocean Region

Maldives Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi became the first foreign minister to officiate the Passing Out Parade at the Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala on Saturday

The significance of interconnectedness of national and regional security in the Indian Ocean region – home to over two billion people and the major sea routes of the world – was underscored once again when Maldives' Mariya Ahmed Didi became the first foreign Defence Minister to review the Passing Out Parade at the Indian Naval Academy (INA) in Ezhimala on Saturday.    

As she congratulated the 231 midshipmen and cadets who successfully completed the rigorous programme at Asia's largest Naval Academy in Kerala's Kannur district, Didi stressed that the graduates' actions and decisions will directly influence not only India's security, but the wider region as well.

"Every patrol you sail on, every sortie you fly, every incident you attend contributes positively to the security of India, the neighbourhood and the wider Indian Ocean. I want you all to remember this at all times," said the Minister.

With some fundamental strategic paradigm shifts taking place in the region, Male has acknowledged significant progress being made in defence cooperation partnership with Delhi in the last three years.

"The defence cooperation partnership between Maldives and India is one that is based on equality, mutual trust and benefit and a deep desire to ensure the safety and security of both the nations, and by extension, the greater Indian Ocean Region," Didi said today.

The minister highlighted India's continued contribution to the professionalization and operational capacity-building process of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF)'s Coast Guard through training opportunities, saying that several INA-trained MNDF officers are holding high ranks in various capacities.

Also Read: Defence Minister of Maldives arrives to review naval parade, add depth to military ties with India

The Southern Naval Command – the training command of the Indian Navy – also assured their full commitment to providing training and development opportunities in all areas of interest to MNDF.


Maldives' Ministry of Defence said that Didi told Vice-Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, of how impressed she was with the high quality of training offered by SNC which has been the training hub for MNDF's Coast Guard for over three decades and has helped professionalize the outfit.

Didi has held a number of discussions on further boosting training engagements between MNDF and the Indian Navy after arriving in Kochi earlier this week on a six-day visit to India at the invitation of the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh.


The minister's India trip began while the 15th edition of trilateral Coast Guard Joint exercise 'DOSTI' between India, Maldives and Sri Lanka was wrapping up in the seas off Male.

India and Maldives, the two fulcrums in the Indian Ocean with deep historical links, have been elevating their partnership, working closely on a broad security agenda that includes counter terrorism, de-radicalisation and violent extremism in the region.

The time-tested and good neighbourly ties between the two nations have scaled new heights since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit to the Maldives in June 2019.  

India, already deeply involved in enhancing the military heft of the Maldivian defence forces, has appreciated the 'clear-eyed stance' taken by the government led by Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to take terrorism head on.

Also Read: Bond of friendship between India and Maldives set to grow stronger