India approves the Maldives’ request to export food products, such as wheat and rice.

The approval of the exports coincides with a period of strained relations between India and the Maldives, particularly following President Mohamed Muizzu’s election.

Amidst a deterioration in relations between the two countries, the Indian government has cleared the supply of various necessities to the Maldives, including commodities like rice, wheat, and onions, whose exports are now prohibited.
In response to the Maldivian government’s request, the government approved the shipment of these goods for 2024–2025 through a bilateral arrangement, the Indian High Commission in Male said in a statement on Friday. The authorized amounts also represent the highest levels since the mechanism’s implementation in 1981.


The approval of the exports coincides with a period of low relations between India and the Maldives, particularly following President Mohamed Muizzu’s election last year. Muizzu has worked to reduce the Indian archipelago’s reliance on India in vital areas. Additionally, Muizzu has brought the Maldives nearer to China.

“The quota for stone aggregates and river sand, which are essential for the developing Maldivian building industry, has been raised to 1,000 MT, a 25% increase. The quotas for eggs, potatoes, onions, sugar, rice, wheat flour, and dal (pulses) have also increased by 5%, according to the announcement.

In order to meet domestic needs, India banned the export of wheat in May 2022 and non-basmati rice in July 2023. In December of last year, the government also imposed a four-month export embargo on onions. On a case-by-case basis, India has provided rice, wheat, and onions to important allies like Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as neighboring nations like Bangladesh.

According to the statement, India sent rice, sugar, and onions to the Maldives last year even though exporting these goods was prohibited. As part of its “Neighbourhood First” policy, “India remains strongly committed to supporting human-centric development in the Maldives,” the statement read.

An official announcement states that between 2024–2025, India will provide the Maldives with one million tonnes of stone aggregates and river sand, respectively. During this time, it will supply 64,494 tonnes of sugar, 109,162 tonnes of wheat, 124,218 tonnes of rice, and 35,749 tonnes of onions.
“Any existing or future restriction/prohibition during 2024–25” will not apply to these exports.
Muizzu has stated several times in recent weeks that he wants to lessen the Maldives’ reliance on any one nation for food security, though he hasn’t mentioned India.

India has also started substituting over 80 military troops stationed in the Maldives to run three planes with civilian staff, per Muizzu’s request. Medical evacuations and operations providing humanitarian aid are the primary uses for the aircraft.

In addition to concluding the medical evacuation services agreement with Sri Lanka, Muizzu’s government negotiated a deal with Turkiye to supply food products like flour. The Maldives has signed agreements with China to supply non-lethal military hardware and training, as well as with Turkey over the use of drones for maritime surveillance.

Additionally, Muizzu declared that the Maldives will start importing medications straight from European pharmaceutical firms. Maldives has relied heavily on India in recent decades for food and medication.



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