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The agreement sends a timely signal to China when Indian and Chinese soldiers are caught in a stalemate over the line of effective control in Ladakh. India and Russia are in the final phase of signing a military logistics agreement, as New Delhi has already done with Washington, Canberra and Tokyo (among others). Since last year, India and Russia have also been promoting a Vladivostok-Chennai sea route. If both materialize — and how many India-Russia things do, if the « if » were to remain operational — the question remains whether the United States will welcome an increased Russian naval presence in the Indian Ocean, even as it intensifies its own relations with others in the region, such as the Maldives. The enthusiasm generated by the New Delhi agreement on the U.S.-Maldives defense pact stands in stark contrast to the circumstances in which the U.S. recently proposed a defense agreement with the Maldives. In a sign of the growing maritime proximity between New Delhi and Washington, New Delhi welcomed the Maldives government`s decision to sign a military agreement with the United States, the first signed Male with a country other than India. In the past, New Delhi had objected to the US and China expanding their strategic presence in this part of the Indian Ocean, considered India`s « sphere of influence ». As the Congressional Research Service explains, SOFAs are agreements that « generally define the framework under which U.S. military personnel operate in a foreign country and how the domestic laws of foreign jurisdiction apply to U.S.

personnel in that country. » According to the U.S. Department of Defense press release, the Framework Pact « sets out the intention of the two countries to deepen engagement and cooperation to support the maintenance of peace and security in the Indian Ocean and is an important step forward in the defense partnership. » Didi tweeted Saturday that the deal was « an important step in defense and security cooperation between the United States and the Maldives. » During the discussions that followed the signing of the agreement, Mariya said the framework would strengthen defense and security cooperation between the two countries, the Maldivian portal Sun Online reported. The Wire has learned that while India is largely aware that talks are ongoing, the text of the deal was not shared until the signing in Philadelphia on Wednesday. After the project emerged, media and opposition claims reported that Mohamed Waheed`s government was allowing the United States to build a base in the Maldives. There have been repeated denials by senior U.S. diplomats and Maldivian government officials about the possibility of a base and that the scope of the agreement is only related to the training of defense personnel. Mariya said the Maldivian government sees the framework as an « important milestone » in defense and security cooperation between the Maldives and the United States. Mariya Didi, Minister of Defense of the Maldives, and Reed Werner, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, sign the U.S.-Maldives Defense Framework Agreement. Photo: Ministry of Defense, Maldives U.S.

contributions contribute to economic development in the Maldives through international organization programs. . . .