President Mohammed Muizzu meets with the people of Dhiyamigili. Photo/ President's Office

Maldives will do its own hydrography survey, says president

The decision was taken to protect the independence and sovereignty of the country, for the sake of the people, he said.

7 February 2024

By Aishath Fareeha Abdulla

President Mohammed Muizzu said on Tuesday evening that Maldives will conduct research on the Maldivian territorial waters and chart it on its own, and that the government is working on a budget to procure the necessary equipment.

The President, who is on a visit to Thaa atoll, explained why this government has decided not to renew the hydrography agreement signed with India by the government of former President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih to survey the seas of Maldives.

"The people would not want our seas to be scanned, surveyed, mapped and all this information to be taken away and owned by others. So we decided not to renew the hydrographic agreement," he said.

He said information about Maldivian seas should not be the property of any other country.

"Everything within this EEZ, within 974,000 acre kilometres, is our property, isn't it? We should know whatever is underneath," he said.

"Scanning and mapping the depth of Maldivian seas and then taking it away and us having to pay for the data, what is this joke? We didn't want to renew such an agreement”.

The decision was taken to protect the independence and sovereignty of the country, for the sake of the people, he said.

"Instead, I have begun the work of procuring the vessels and having our military standing on its own feet and mapping it ourselves. The Finance Ministry is now in the process of allocating the budget to the Defence Ministry. As soon as we can, we'll buy the software, hardware and everything we need and do it on our own. We don't have to bring in others," he said.

The President reiterated his most repeated commitment to maintain Maldives as an independent country.

"So we will maintain the seabed, the wind, the sea, the road and everything by ourselves. We will do it ourselves”.

The President's Office said on December 14 that the government has issued a notice to India to cancel the hydrography agreement signed with the country to study and chart Maldives’ seabed.

  • A Hydrographic Agreement was signed between Maldives and India on 8 June 2019 to identify the physical features of Maldivian seas and the land areas next to them, as well as our marine life

  • Under the agreement, a special office and facilities for hydrography have been established within the MNDF

  • President Muizzu's 'Week 14' or first 100 days promise is to repeal the agreements signed by the previous government with other countries that could threaten Maldivian independence and sovereignty