The US reinforces political and military relations with the Maldives
Rohantha De Silva
15 March 2019
Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid’s recent US trip underscores the strategic importance of this small Indian Ocean archipelago to Washington’s foreign policy. Shahid, accompanied by senior government officials, was invited by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Last month’s trip came after Shahid’s earlier visit to India—Washington’s strategic partner in the region—to boost relations with that country. The new Maldivian government is distancing itself from China and strengthening its political and military connections with Washington.
As well as Pompeo, Shahid met with Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells and Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale, as well as officials from the US National Security Council, USAID and the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. He also held talks with the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Nathan Alexander Sales, about involvement in future programs.
Shahid declared that Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy was good for his country and stability in the Indian Ocean. Contrary to this assertion, however, the US is the principal destabilising factor in the region.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s government came to power in November 2018, following a Washington-orchestrated operation to remove President Abdulla Yameen’s administration, and to politically realign the island country away from China and toward the US.
Washington’s geo-political manoeuvres in the Indo-Pacific region are aimed at establishing a tight network of alliances to militarily encircle China.
Shahid endorsed Washington’s claims of commitment to a “free and…