Diplomatic relations between Nepal and the Maldives were established on 1 August 1980. These relations are marked by goodwill, cooperation and mutual understanding. They are further strengthened by the exchange of visits at various levels. As the founding members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), both Nepal and the Maldives have been playing instrumental roles in the evolution of regional cooperation in South Asia and in institutionalizing SAARC process. The two countries share similar views on many international issues and work closely at various international forums. The Embassy of Nepal in Colombo has been accredited to Maldives and the Maldivian High Commission in New Delhi is accredited to Nepal.
Exchange of high-level visits has contributed to elevate the bilateral relations. Prime Minister of Nepal Hon. Mr. Lokendra Bahadur Chand visited the Maldives to attend the 9th SAARC Summit held in Male on 12–14 May 1997. Similarly, His Excellency Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Maldives visited Nepal to attend the 11th SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu on 4–6 January 2002. Hon. Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Prime Minister of Nepal visited the Maldives leading Nepali delegation to the 17th SAARC Summit held on 10-11 of November 2011 in Addu City. Likewise, His Excellency Abdullah Yameen, President of the Maldives visited Nepal to participate in the 18th SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu on 26-27 November 2014.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali participated in the Fourth Indian Ocean Conference held in the Maldives on 3-4 September 2019 and addressed the conference organized under the theme of Securing the Indian Ocean Region: Traditional and Non-Traditional Challenges.
Tourism and trade are the two potential areas of mutual benefits for Nepal and the Maldives. As per the record of the Department of Immigration of the Government of Nepal, 1,136 tourists from the Maldives visited Nepal in 2019. Both countries also need to work towards improving connectivity between Kathmandu and Male. The major exports from Nepal to the Maldives in 2019 consisted of textile products and textile materials. Similarly, the major imports from the Maldives included natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, gold, electrical machinery and parts etc. Bilateral trade statistics of the past three years are given below:
Value in – NRS.
|Year||Imports from Maldives||Exports to Maldives||Trade Balance|
Source: – Trade and Export Promotion Center, GON, 2019
Over five thousand Nepalis are currently working in the Maldives in various sectors. Nepali medical doctors, nurses and engineers are also providing services in the Maldives. Nepal and the Maldives signed the Agreement on Academic Cooperation between Tribhuvan University, Institute of Medicine and the Ministry of Health, Republic of Maldives on 27 August 2015 to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of education. As part of educational cooperation between Nepal and Maldives, students from the Maldives have been pursuing their higher studies in Nepal, especially in the MBBS and Nursing programmes.