US, Maldives hold inaugural defence dialogue; reaffirm commitment to free and open Indo-Pacific

By Outlook

The US and the Maldives have concluded their inaugural Defence and Security Dialogue during which the two countries agreed on taking concrete steps to operationalise the Security and Defence Relationship Framework signed late last year.

Signed in September 2020, the framework focused on four areas: exercises, logistics, information sharing and professional military education.

Held in Male on January 5, the dialogue was co-chaired by Anthony Tata, performing the duties of under secretary of defence for policy from the US and Maldivian Minster of Defence Mariya Didi.

Both sides reaffirmed their shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region and agreed on activities in 2021 that will advance shared priorities such as maritime security, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The Department of Defence commended the Maldives’ success in rapidly mobilising and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and both sides agreed to evaluate further cooperation opportunities in the area of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The two sides affirmed the importance of dialogue as they looked forward to holding the next Defence and Security Dialogue in 2022.

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