The United States has committed US$10 million as aid to the Maldives, a senior diplomat from a visiting US delegation told the press on Tuesday
“I am pleased to announce that we’ve committed US$ 10 million to Maldives – US$7 million in foreign military financing to support Maldives maritime security and control its territorial waters and US$3 million to support civil society and help protect Maldives environment,” said David J. Ranz, the deputy assistant secretary of the central and south Asian affairs.
Ranz met reporters during an official visit to the Maldives with a delegation including senior officials from the Department of Justice, US AID, and the State Department’s bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement..
The Maldives is a critical partner in President Donal Trump’s Indo-Pacific strategy, he said, adding the US delegation has held discussions to “expand the partnership”
“The election of President Solih and subsequent peaceful transfer of power was a major democratic movement and one that we view as profoundly significant for the whole region,” he continued. “The goal of our trip has been examining ways that we can expand our partnership with the Maldives in pursuit of a free and open Indo-Pacific, including how to be supportive during this critical period of transition.”
Discussions with the Maldives government focused on objectives and challenges and how the US could support strengthening democracy, improving governance, enhancing security and promoting development, Ranz said.
The delegation also discussed providing capacity building and training for Maldivian investigative authorities to help carry out probes into public financing management, asset recovery, and debt management.
But the US would not actively participate in any domestic investigations unless the Maldivian government sought consultancy, Ranz stressed.
“One of the goals of the Indo-Pacific strategy is to ensure that countries receive investments that is economically viable, that ensure sovereignty and and ensure they’re able to make decisions that are in best interests if the country and their people,” he said.
“We’ve seen in the region examples where countries have promoted investment that wasn’t designed to be a benefit to the people and wasn’t designed economically or commercially viable,” he said, referring to Chinese financing of the previous administration’s infrastructure projects.
“That has not been positive for those countries or the region. Many countries have begun to push back, the Maldives is one of those countries that I think has begun to push back with the new government. So one clear area is ensuring that the investment you receive is going to be a benefit to the Maldivian people and contribute to your economic growth and prosperity.”
The US would also help the Maldives develop its ability to patrol territorial waters under the security initiative.
This would include helping to develop the island nation’s ability to to respond to humanitarian and natural disasters, Ranz added, noting that heavy rainfall flooded the capital Malé just last week.
The US would also facilitate private sector investments through the new development finance corporation created by the recently enacted US Global BUILD Act, he said.