Maldives-UK Bilateral Relations

Since Independence from British Protectorship in 1965, Maldives and the United Kingdom have enjoyed close, friendly and mutually beneficial relations. Maldives attaches great importance to its relationship with the United Kingdom, and hopes that bi-lateral cooperation on economic, social and political development can move from strength to strength.

Maldives and United Kingdom have a long history of close relations, and 26 July 2012 marked the 47th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Following on from being a British Protectorate, Maldives hosted a British air base RAF Gan in Addu Atoll between 1957 and 1967 (this British link was celebrated in 2011 at a photography exhibition that accompanied Maldives’ hosting of the SAARC Summit). Numerous high level visits have taken place between the UK and Maldives, with HM Queen Elizabeth II visiting the islands on 13 March 1972.

The strong commercial and human links between Maldives and Britain continue to this day. Almost 100,000 Britons choose to travel to Maldives each year in order to experience the countries’ natural beauty and luxury resorts (Source: Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Republic of Maldives). Additionally, in recent years a number of British teachers have volunteered in various schools throughout Maldives. Meanwhile, many Maldivians travel to the United Kingdom for pleasure, and at any one time roughly 200 Maldivians choose to reside in the UK in order to study in Britain’s world renowned universities.

Britain is also an important market for Maldivian canned a fresh fish products. In 2011, 7% of total exports from Maldives, with a cumulative value of US$9.4 million, were destined for Britain.

British representation in Maldives is managed from the British High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Working through the Maldives High Commission in London and in the British High Commission in Colombo, the Maldives Government works with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and the Department for International Development (DFID) to promote and strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.

British assistance to the Maldives began in the 1960s, and has mainly been targeted towards human resources development.

The All-Party British-Maldives Parliamentary Group is an informal interest group of MPs that seeks to ‘raise awareness of key issues in the Maldives including environmental problems, education, political issues and social problems’

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