The specifics of the agreement between the Maldives and India to establish a military dockyard and harbour at Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) were disclosed before the People’s Majlis Committee on National Security Services (241 Committee) on Sunday.
In response to a request from the Majlis, Defence Minister Mariya Didi and Chief of Defence Force Major General Abdulla Shamaal attended the 241 Committee meeting to disclose India-Maldives defence agreements, including the UTF agreement.
The Majlis asked for a copy of the UTF agreement from the defence ministry following a request from Maduvvari MP and PNC Vice President Adam Shareef.
The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) gave a presentation on the contents of the agreement during the open 241 Committee meeting, but the entire agreement was not disclosed.
Minister Mariya remarked before presenting a copy of the UTF agreement that it was signed after limiting the strategic action plan agreed upon by former President Abdulla Yameen’s government to only support and maintenance from India.
The UTF agreement, according to the MNDF presentation, was based on the strategic action plan agreed upon by Yameen’s government, but the terms of the agreement were modified. The MNDF said that the Maldives provided terms of reference in 2017 in response to a request from India to begin the project. The terms of reference were later updated in 2019, according to the presentation.
The 241 Committee voted on Sunday to keep the arrangement secret owing to a confidentiality clause in the agreement.