The newly appointed Chief of Defence Force, Major General Abdul Raheem, has held a meeting with the US Ambassador to the Maldives, Hugo Yon, Deputy Chief of Mission, Andrea Appell, and Defence Advisor, LTC Anthony Nelson.

The meeting focused on reviewing ongoing defence cooperation activities and exploring avenues for further cooperation between the two nations. On Sunday, the Minister of Defence Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon also held discussions with the US Ambassador. 

These meetings come at a time of evolving geopolitical dynamics in the Indo-Pacific region, with the Maldives playing a critical role due to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean. The United States, recognising the importance of the Maldives in its Indo-Pacific strategy, has been keen on strengthening its military and security ties with the island nation.

The discussions in the meeting align with the current government’s foreign policy stance, which emphasises independence, sovereignty, and democratic values. These themes resonate with the new leadership under President Mohamed Muizzu, who has shown interest in diversifying the country’s international partnerships.

Under President Muizzu’s administration, there has been a shift in the Maldives’ foreign military engagements, including intentions to remove foreign military personnel from the country. However, the defence agreement signed in April 2022 with the United States’ Montana National Guard State Partnership Program highlights a continuing commitment to enhance the Maldives’ defense capacity in cooperation with the US.

The inaugural US-Maldives Defence and Security Dialogue held in December 2021 set a precedent for deepening defence and security cooperation. Tuesday’s meeting is seen as a continuation of these efforts, aiming to strengthen bilateral relations and advance shared values in the Indo-Pacific region.