Describing the Maldives as a key partner in ensuring a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, the United States has said it is committed to strengthening cooperation with the Indian Ocean archipelagic nation.
US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Donald Lu was in the Maldives recently for talks with its new leadership and the civil society, months after President Mohamed Muizzu, considered a pro-China leader, assumed office.
“The United States is committed to strengthening cooperation with the Maldives, a key partner in ensuring a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” a state department spokesperson told PTI on Thursday when asked about the assistant secretary’s visit from 29-31 January.
The spokesperson’s remarks come at a time when there is an ongoing diplomatic row between the Maldives and India following a demand by Muizzu that all 88 Indian military personnel present in his country be withdrawn, amidst growing global concerns over China’s increasing military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region.
While in the Maldivian capital Malé, Lu met with Muizzu and other senior officials to discuss shared priorities, including defence cooperation, economic growth, and democratic governance.