Geostrategic options for the Maldives
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 01:15 by Abdulla Phairoosch
In the power politics of strategic manoeuvring and counter balancing in the Indian Ocean region, smaller states attract the attention of all the major powers and are subjected to external pressure. Maldives, though a small state with limited resources and diplomatic clout, plays a vital role in the regional geostrategic dynamics mainly based on its geographic location. By examining the foreign policy of the Maldives, this study provides insight into the country’s relations with India and China, and attempts to display its political autonomy amid the strategic manoeuvring in the Indian Ocean by the two big states. This study documents the changes in the Maldives’ foreign policy during all its presidencies, from independence till 2015, by taking it as a synchronic case study that could be a useful resource for other small states in articulating foreign policies. By applying Rosenau’s explanatory factors of foreign policy and Knudsen’s variables for maintaining small state autonomy, this study establishes that the Maldives’ exploitation of alliance strategy compounds its insecurities. It also raises concerns for the Maldives’ external behaviour, as the political leadership could be eliciting a higher-than-anticipated cost through a compelled revision of interests. Against this backdrop, this study outlines behavioural and policy changes the Maldives can adopt to mitigate its insecurities, and safeguard its interests and autonomy.