Maldives not obliged to consult neighbours before joining China’s Silk Route, says foreign minister

The Maldives, as an independent and sovereign nation, is not obliged to consult other countries before making foreign policy decisions, foreign minister Dunya Maumoon told the People’s Majlis today.

The foreign minister appeared in parliament to respond to a question tabled by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Nashid concerning the Maldives’ participation in the Chinese ’21st Century Maritime Silk Route’ initiative.

President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jingping has called on the Maldives “to get actively involved” in the creation of a maritime trade route linking China to the east coast of Africa and the Mediterranean.

Nashid, MP for Shaviyani Komandoo, asked whether neighbouring countries in the Indian Ocean were consulted before the decision was made.

“If we join this project, is it likely that the longstanding close relations we have with neighbouring countries could be adversely affected?” he asked.

In response, Dunya noted that the agreement signed with the British in 1965 to secure independence “states in clear language that the Maldives is not obliged to consult or seek consent or approval from any other nation to implement Maldivian foreign policy.”

Former Presidents Ibrahim Nasir and Maumoon Abdul Gayoom did not join any “military or political alliance” during the Cold War, she added, out of fear of losing the independence gained in 1965 as the Maldives would be obliged to consult major powers before making foreign policy decisions.

“We should all know that the interest of any foreign country should not take precedence over Maldivian national interest,” she said.

MDP MP Ibrahim Mohamed Didi – a retired brigadier general – asked whether relations with India could deteriorate if Chinese naval activity is conducted in a Maldivian port, which would threaten Indian “geopolitical interests”.

Dunya declined to answer citing national security concerns and advised raising the issue through parliamentary committees.

Asked if India has expressed concern with the decision, Dunya said the Indian government also welcomed the Silk Route initiative during Chinese President Xi’s visit to New Delhi in September.

Foreign policy

Dunya said President Abdulla Yameen’s foreign policy was based on Article 115(d) of the Constitution, which states that the president has a duty “to guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of the Maldives, and to promote respect for national sovereignty in the international community.”

The government decided to participate in the Silk Route initiative as it would promote national interest and benefit the Maldivian people through trade and commerce, she said.

Dunya referred to a joint communique issued during President Xi’s state visit in the Maldives in September, which declared that the Maldives “welcomes and supports the proposal put forward by China to build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and is prepared to actively participate in relevant cooperation”.

Fostering ties with South Asian countries and ensuring national security was one of the most important aims of the government’s foreign policy, she continued, noting that Maldivian security was intertwined with Indian Ocean regional security.

The Maldives would consult all nations and work together to ensure regional security and stability, she assured.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has criticised the decision to join the Silk Route initiative, contending that it would threaten Indian Ocean security and risk putting the Maldives in the middle of war or disputes between Asian powers.

China’s rising economic presence in the Indian Ocean region has stoked concerns in New Delhi that China is creating a “string of pearls” to encircle India, including Chinese investments in ports and other key projects in Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Asked if closer ties with China would adversely impact relations with India or Japan, President Yameen told reporters upon returning from a visit to China in August that Sino-Maldives economic cooperation would not affect “the very friendly, close relations with India”.

“All these projects are also open to India and we are doing a lot of diplomatic work with India,” he said, referring to his administration’s decision not to sign a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States as an example of cooperation.


11 thoughts on “Maldives not obliged to consult neighbours before joining China’s Silk Route, says foreign minister”

  1. No need to consult India.
    No need to beg India for military assistance the next time there is a coup either.
    Your president should install a hotline to Islamabad and leave us alone.

  2. Dunya has certainly made it right that it is the right of us Maldivians to decide what foreign policy to follow.
    MDP on the other hand has made it also clear that they follow the foreign policy of some other country!

  3. what? The whole country runs on the good will of foreigners, I.e. Tourists. So stop this non sense about "independence"!

  4. Hahaa i see the Maldivian foreign policy as something that points to many directions. really aimless! Silk route would benefit China a lot, but Maldives would become Chinas whore if India leaves us. we will be like a homeless wife with many kids 😀 Mind u, china wont marry Maldives even if India divorce us. Poor poor Maldives! hehe

  5. dear foreign minister

    you are as blind as your father. you can think whatever you want but you think about this. in china they do not think about religion to follow. they kill anyone without remorse who caught being religious. u join this barbaric fake china silk road / probably fake too/ just so you and your family+ cronies can get even more money.

  6. Maldives never need to bow down for India any more or Israel. China will help develop Maldives.

  7. @Kashim

    China is even more ruthless in dealing with muslims than Israel. Looks like you're willing to look the other way as long as they grease your palm, arab wannabe. 😛

  8. Goodluck to maldives friendship with China,but make sure you don't export terorists into xingjiang, for Chinese will deal ruthlessly with any islamist activities there

  9. Nearly 40 years ago, Maldives, as a nation, did have reason to believe it did not have to bow down to anyone or any one nation in particular!
    It was proud to be called a sovereign state, a member of the UN, Commonwealth, and a non aligned nations!
    It was a proud country that flew its flag on a fleet of nearly 100 ships that traded in the Indian Ocean and more!
    However, shamelessly, we have been diminished to the state where we are today having to join someone elses route and face consequences, if there is any!
    Hope the President will honour to guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of the Maldives, and to promote respect for national sovereignty in the international community in whatever decision that is made!

  10. Miss-India-Agrawal-the-thug should stay away from even being on this site. Leave the peaceful people of Maldives to mind their own business. Maldivians do not want another Rajiv Gandhi again to ready troops in Agra to exercise mopping up operations in the Maldives after directing bunch of terrorists to the Maldives who were taken care of by Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka.


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