The US has signed a framework for defence cooperation with the Maldives to deepen engagement in help of sustaining peace and safety in the strategic Indian Ocean, the Pentagon has introduced, because the Trump administration seems for strengthening alliances in the Indo-Pacific to counter China’s growing presence in the area.
The framework for defence and safety relationship was signed in Philadelphia on September 10 between Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Reed Werner and Maldivian Minister of Defence Mariya Didi. .
“The framework sets forth both countries’ intent to deepen engagement and cooperation in support of maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean, and marks an important step forward in the defence partnership,” the Pentagon mentioned.
The Indo-Pacific is a biogeographic area of Earth’s seas, comprising the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, the western and central Pacific Ocean.
During discussions after signing the settlement, Mariya mentioned the framework will strengthen defence and safety cooperation between the 2 international locations, Maldivian portal Sun Online reported.
Mariya mentioned that peace and safety in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean area is tied to the perfect pursuits of each international locations.
She pressured the significance of bilateral dialogue and engagement, in opposition to a backdrop of growing transnational threats equivalent to piracy, violent extremism, terrorism, and illicit commerce, which she mentioned remained related, even amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
According to an announcement launched by the Defence Ministry, the framework outlines a lot of bilateral actions, together with senior-level dialogues, discussions, engagements, and alternatives in areas equivalent to maritime area consciousness, pure disasters, and humanitarian reduction operations, the report mentioned.
Mariya mentioned that the Maldivian authorities sees the framework as an “important milestone” in defence and safety cooperation between the Maldives and the US.
Werner and Didi additionally mentioned US help for the island nation in its response to COVID-19 and areas for future cooperation, and agreed to work towards scheduling the primary Defense and Security Dialogue, the Pentagon mentioned.
Both sides reiterated their dedication to a free and open Indo-Pacific that promotes the safety and prosperity of all nations in the area, the Pentagon mentioned. The Central Indo-Pacific contains the quite a few seas and straits connecting the Indian and Pacific oceans. The resource-rich Indo-Pacific area is the place China has been making an attempt to unfold its affect. The US has additionally been pushing for a broader position by India in the strategically vital area. China is eyeing to increase its affect in the Indian Ocean area. China has already taken management of Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and with Japan in the East China Sea. Both the areas are mentioned to be wealthy in minerals, oil and different pure assets. Beijing claims nearly the entire South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims in the waterway.