Maldives Re-establishes Full Diplomatic Relations with Israel
Maldivian president speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in 2009 announced that Maldives will be seeking Diplomatic Relations and contact with all the countries in the United Nations. Israel was the first country to send an ambassador to Maldives upon independence, so Israel is the first country the modern Maldives had diplomatic ties with. Maldives and Israel enjoyed a close relationship until 1970 when Maldives joined the non-aligned movement and since had no official contact. While Maldives openly did not question the acceptance of Israeli (state) and her foreign policy and the middle east conflict, it was perceived that Maldives had joined many of the SAARC countries that remained mute on the subject, with he exception of Nepal.
Among the SAARC countries Nepal has had relations with Israel the longest. Nepal established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1960, and always enjoyed a warm relationship with with Israel with King Mahendra visiting Israel in 1963. India being the biggest nation in SAARC region as well as being a strong ally of United States and the democratic world established diplomatic relations with Israel and remains one of the closest allies of Israel in SAARC.
Israel and India have defense trade agreements, space programs and anti- terrorist agreements among various regions of corporation. Bhutan has officially not expressed any desire to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, but Bhutan remains diplomatically neutral with all the countries of the world. In 2005 the foreign ministers of Israel and Pakistan had bilateral talks, which concluded in the Pakistani president Musharaff stating that Pakistan will eventually establish diplomatic relations with Israel but only after an Independent Palestine State was created. Sri Lanka previously had a brief break in diplomatic connection with Jerusalem but remains a close ally of Israel.
Within the SAARC block only Afghanistan and Bangladesh remains opposed to establishing relations with Israel to date. With Maldives signing agreements in tourism, trade, health care and environmental research with Israel, most of the SAARC region is now a new frontier to Israeli tourists and trade. This also gives the opportunity for the people of SAARC unrestricted access to travel and explore the holy land.