But Australia and other international partners have a role, too.
The visit in recent days by Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to Maldives is further demonstration of India’s intention to build long-term ties. Jaishankar’s visit to Addu Atoll, in the far south of the country, also highlights the particular importance of that atoll to India and its partners.
Maldives is an archipelago of some 1200 islands stretching north-south in the central Indian Ocean, south of India. Its geography makes it a strategic “prize” by big powers, despite its isolation and tiny population of only 500,000 people. For much of its history, Maldives has had to work pragmatically with bigger powers while also guarding its autonomy.
The National Security College (NSC), with the support of the Department of Defence, is leading a multi-year research project on Australia’s Indo-Pacific strategy in the Indian Ocean. As a part of this project, this paper analyses the geostrategic importance of Addu Atoll in southern Maldives. This paper first appeared in the Lowy Institute’s ‘The Interpreter’ on 29 March 2022.
Image: David Stanley/Flickr