Recently, India has supplied 6.2 tonnes of essential medicines to Maldives as assistance in fight against COVID 19. The medicines were procured from various cities and delivered by an Hercules aircraft of Indian Air Force.
At the request of the government of Maldives, the IAF aircraft activated Operation Sanjeevani and lifted these medicines from airports in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Madurai before flying to the Maldives.
These medicines and consumables were procured from India but couldn’t be transported due to the 21-day lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Among other things, these medicines include influenza vaccines, anti-viral drugs such as lopinavir and ritonavir — which have been used to treat patients with COVID-19 in other countries —medicines for cardiac conditions, kidney ailments, hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, allergies and cancer treatment, anticonvulsants, as well as as catheters, nebulisers, urine bags and infant feeding tubes.
Previous India’s Assistance to Maldives
- 1988: Under Operation Cactus the Indian Armed Forces have helped the government of Maldives in the neutralization of the coup attempt.
- 2004: India has helped Maldives after the tsunami.
- 2014: Under ‘Operation Neer’ India supplied drinking water to Maldives to deal with the drinking water crisis.
- The two Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) given by India to the Maldivian armed forces have been used in saving Maldivian lives.
- The Advanced Light Helicopter is a multi-role, new generation helicopter in the 5.5-ton weight class, indigenously designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
History: India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links. India was among the first to recognize Maldives after its independence in 1965 and later established its mission at Male in 1972.
Defence: India provides the largest number of training opportunities for Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF), meeting around 70% of their defence training requirements.
‘Ekuverin’ is a joint military exercise between India and Maldives.
Disaster Management: The Government of India has provided large-scale assistance to Maldives in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and during the 2014 Male water crisis.
Trade and Tourism: India is Maldives’ 4th largest trade partner after UAE, China and Singapore. In 2018, India was the 5th largest source of tourist arrivals in Maldives.
The Maldivian economy is heavily dependent on its tourism sector, which is the major source of foreign exchange earnings and government revenue.