India Maldives Legal Assistance Treaty

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The Union Cabinet chaired by the PM Narendra Modi, has given its approval for signing of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters between India and the Maldives.

Relations between Maldives and India have been friendly and close in strategic, economic and military cooperation. India contributed to maintaining security on the island nation and has forged an alliance with respect to its strategic interests in the Indian Ocean.

current affairsThe Treaty aims to enhance effectiveness of both countries in investigation and prosecution of crime, through cooperation and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

In the context of transnational crime and its linkages to terrorism, the proposed Treaty will provide a broad legal framework for bilateral cooperation with Maldives in investigation and prosecution of crime as well as in tracing, restraint and confiscation of proceeds, and instruments of crime as well as funds meant to finance terrorist acts.

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Maldives is located south of India’s Lakshadweep Islands in the Indian Ocean. Both nations established diplomatic relations after the independence of Maldives from British rule in 1966. Since then, India and Maldives have developed close strategic, military, economic and cultural relations.

India has supported Maldives’ policy of keeping regional issues and struggles away from itself, and the latter has seen friendship with India as a source of aid as well as a counterbalance to Sri Lanka, which is in proximity to the island nation and its largest trading partner.

Approximately 29,000 Indians live and work in the Maldives and almost 22,000 of them live in Male’, the capital city. They comprise nurses, teachers, managers, doctors, engineers, accountants and other professionals.

Besides them, there are skilled and unskilled personnel such as technicians, masons, tailors, plumbers, and other labourers. A sizeable proportion work in the tourism-related industries. Almost all of them hold Indian citizenship though they may get absorbed in the fabric of the local society.

People from Kerala and Tamil Nadu have historically been in close contact with the Maldives, through trade. That continues till today where Indian professional and other workers contribute to Maldivian economy and society.

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