No US base under discussion, only joint training exercises: Defence Minister

Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim has said there is no proposal to establish a US base in the Maldives, and that a ‘Status of Forces Agreement’ (SOFA) currently under discussion only concerns joint military training exercises between the two nations.

“It is an agreement signed to carry out military training exercises with other countries. There is no proposal to establish a US military base in the Maldives. The government won’t give that opportunity to any country,” Nazim told local media.

“The US has proposed joint military training exercises with our forces. The proposal is being discussed with the relevant authorities of the Maldives. The agreement will be signed on the advice of the Attorney General,” he added

The US Embassy in Colombo has also refuted reports of a planned US military presence in the Maldives.

“There are no plans for a permanent US military presence in Maldives. SOFAs are normal practice wherever the Unites States cooperates closely with a country’s national security forces. SOFAs generally establish the framework under which US personnel operate in a country when supporting security-related activities and the United States is currently party to more than 100 agreements that may be considered a SOFA,” an Embassy spokesperson told Minivan News on Wednesday.

An apparent draft of the SOFA agreement was published by Maldivian current affairs blog DhivehiSitee on Wednesday.

The draft outlines conditions under which US personnel and civilian staff would operate in the Maldives, granting them freedom of movement and the diplomatic immunities of the Vienna Convention, authority to carry arms, use naval and aerial base facilities, and the radio spectrum. US personnel in the Maldives would be subject to US laws and exempt from paying taxes and any undergoing any form of customs inspections.

Under the proposed 10 year agreement outlined in the draft, the Maldives would moreover “furnish, without charge” to the United States unspecified “Agreed Facilities and Areas”, and “such other facilities and areas in the territory and territorial seas of the Republic of Maldives as may be provided by the Republic of Maldives in the future.”

“The Republic of the Maldives authorises United States forces to exercise all rights and authorities with Agreed Facilities and Areas that are necessary for their use, operation, defense or control, including the right to undertake new construction works and make alterations and improvements,” the document states.

The US Embassy in Colombo was unable to verify the authenticity of the leaked draft, “as the agreement has not been finalised.”


12 thoughts on “No US base under discussion, only joint training exercises: Defence Minister”

  1. so how did dhivehisitee got that so called draft agreement? looks like the content of the draft agreement was itself written by dhivehisite for propaganda purpose!

  2. I'm afraid your lies are meaningless. Your American friends, they were very brave when our agents captured them. Patriotic bravado aside, they broke down once I authorized the 'enhanced interrogations'. They confessed to everything.

    Ha ha ha!.

  3. I am deeply disappointed that the level of toxicity in the Maldives' political scene appears to give no space for any government in the country to pursue policies that are clearly in the long-term national and strategic interest of the country.

    The kinds of immunities that are listed are not the type of capitulation agreements offered by European empires to the Ottoman satraps in the 19th century; they are indeed the standard fare of military cooperation-- military personnel in foreign countries while on mission are not subject to local jurisdiction or taxation.

    We have been receiving US and other naval ships in the Maldives for over four decades now; all these vessels and their personnel enter, stay and traverse our territories under the grant of diplomatic immunity, and are not subject to Maldivian laws or taxes or whims and fancies.

    Teams of UN officials work in the Maldives with the same kind of immunities provided for diplomats- no taxation, no jurisdiction, no interference in communications, inviolability of premises, person and household. The UN Building in Maldives is inviolable. These immunities have been extended for decades.

    From 1988-1989, scores of Indian soldiers were stationed in the Maldives-- no taxes, no jurisdiction, etc. So it is highly irresponsible for the media and politicians to present to the public half-baked notions that undermines a country's foreign policies and strategic interests.

    For its part, New York City hosts thousands of diplomats who do not pay taxes and parking fines and who also do not come under US jurisdiction, including hundreds who continually berate and attack US in UN debates.

    This is the world of diplomatic immunity; it is not the end of sovereignty; it in fact enhances it by facilitating cooperation amongst states.

    Since 2008, Maldives has sought closer military cooperation with the US. In my various meetings with the State Department between 2009-2010, I emphasized the need for closer maritime cooperation between India, Maldives and the USA. Morton Kaplan's book The Monsoon makes it clear that in the next 50 or so years, the Indian Ocean will be one of the most important commercial and strategic theatres in the world. It is clear that from Somali pirates to blue-water frigates, our shores are in the heart of the emerging security theatre. As I said in my paper on Maritime Security Cooperation in the Indian Ocean (in Nihar Nayak ed Cooperative Security in the Indian Ocean, New Delhi: IDSA, 2012), the Maldives is at the crucial apex of the hinge of the Indian Ocean, between the increasingly lawless Arabian Sea and the potentially competitive Bay of Bengal. It is clearly in the interest of the Maldives to develop a strategic partnership with the hegemonic powers in the Ocean. Ideally, we should work ourselves into a tripartite India-Maldives-US alliance; but having kicked India in the shin over the GMR, let us at least not scuttle this potentially strategic deal with the Americans. We have nothing to lose except our isolation, insecurity, and helplessness against an arc of crises and threats that looms over our entire horizon. I applaud the current government for having brought the Americans to dine with us. We should not abandon rational discussion for short term political posturing.

  4. Ahmed Shaheed, well said.

    But problem is that Nasheed and his supporter and may be you will go extra miles to justify what ever Nasheed says whether it is right or wrong.

    All the current political leaders are power hunger and greedy people who are only looking at their self interest and nothing else.

  5. I have read this in en Indian news Pepper after Maldivian coup regime they lifted the agreement from GMR and begin discussion with China.

    The Indian news said that President Barack Obama said if Maldives getting engage with China forget about De-ago Gasia there will be an American base is Maldives.

  6. @Ahmed Shaheed on Fri, 26th Apr 2013 3:46 AM

    "Morton Kaplan’s book The Monsoon makes it clear that in the next 50 or so years, the Indian Ocean will be one of the most important commercial and strategic theatres in the world. "

    We do not need Morton Kaplan to tell us what is quite clearly a fairly basic fact of modern life. Regardless of what "The Monsoon" or "The Hailstorm" may tell you, the strategic importance of the Indian Ocean has been there since the continents separated to form the current land masses we know.

    Of course, that importance continues to grow and the driver is the shift in global power towards the East. I'm sure both the Americans and the Chinese would love to have a nice, quiet piece of water in the middle of the Indian Ocean where they can "keep an eye" on the flow of global trade.

  7. @Mohamed Naseem on Fri, 26th Apr 2013 6:02 PM

    "The Indian news said that President Barack Obama said if Maldives getting engage with China forget about De-ago Gasia there will be an American base is Maldives."

    He must've said that on Apri fool's day. Diego is the ideal American Naval base. No pesky natives to bother with, plenty of land and calm waters around. It's only about 600 miles from the Maldives anyway. It has an even better quality marine environment than the Maldives. Nah, they are not crazy.

  8. Signing an agreement of this sort can be the normal practice when nations are engaged in such circumstance, and it is understandable!

    At a glance, the said to be agreement, does seem to have catches and loopholes somehow! These perhaps are procedures for such diplomatic renderings!

    As per this agreement, an American or contracted personnel can do whatever they want in the Maldives, and get away un-scaled!

    There can be no charges against them in any jurisdiction of the Maldives! They can be tried only in accordance with American Law and perhaps in America only!

    Though these may be unethical, it has to be agreed that we, Maldivians enjoying such benefits, to extend, when and where diplomacy and diplomats is involved!

    However, what is worrying is; Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik (who is said to be holding dual citizenship, and hold an American passport), as a citizen of Maldives while being Vice President was involved in a coup on 7th February, 2012 (though not said as one in the CoNI report, which seemingly was very unethically done up), and got himself sworn in somehow!

    Also under his leadership, many unconstitutional things have been done, and are also being done!
    Moreover gross negligence and errors have purposefully been made!

    It does now appear that under this agreement, Waheed can be hired as a contractor for what ever purpose!

    Does this mean at any time he can exit Maldives as an American, a contractor or both, without having to face any music?

    If this can happen through this agreement, it will be a total injustice done to the people of Maldives, and on purpose!

  9. This agreement is not going to harm the country and in fact it is going to help the country to protect from people who are threatening us because we are a small country.

    This agreement is not like a GMR agreement where we are been robbed day light for then sake of few people who are getting rich through GMR.

  10. I see Kuribee is still being a sucky liar.

    "This agreement is not going to harm the country and in fact it is going to help the country to protect from people who are threatening us because we are a small country."

    From this, I believe you haven't read the agreement, and two, the only people harming Maldives are you people.

  11. @Abdulla Hussain on Sat, 27th Apr 2013 10:08 AM.

    Kuribee has no options left!

    The bloke is either in the thick of it, paid to write and recite Nasheed's name xxxx times a day howsoever, or has his brain up a hole where no skunk dare enter!

    Cowards will die many times before they buried deep where they cannot be mischievous as they were alive!

    For the likes of @Kuribee, these are no serious issues, for them nothing will matter other than their personal greed!

  12. Ever since the end of Portuguese colonial era, we have never been invaded by another country. The only people these PPM thugs are afraid of are true-blooded Maldivians who fight for liberty.


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