Thursday 9th Dec 2021
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UTF Agreement

UTF Agreement Could Stay In Effect Until 2049

The Ministry of Defence had stated that the term of the bilateral agreement to develop a dockyard and harbour at Uthuru Thila Falhu; titled "Development, Support, and the Maintenance of the Maldives National Defence Force Harbour Sifavaru at Uthuru Thila Falhu", signed between the Maldives and India; is 15 years with the possibility to extend the term by 10 years.
During a session of the Parliament Committee for National Security Services, officials of the Ministry of Defence had stated that as per the agreement, development of the facilities would take 3 years, and the term of the agreement would stay in force for a period of 15 years. If nothing in writing is submitted within 12 months of the end of the 15 year period, the agreement would be extended for a further 10 years.
Therefore, there is a possibility that this agreement would remain in force for a period of 28 years since the signing of the agreement. The draft copy, that had been leaked earlier this year, indicated that this term be a period of 30 years. Apparently, the duration had been amended prior to the signing.
The Ministry's officials detailed several issues pertaining to the 5th clause of the agreement; which matches that of the leaked draft.
Dhiyares had previously requested the Ministry of Defence to disclose information pertaining to the UTF agreement. On their refusal, Dhiyares had appealed the case to the Information Commissioner's Office. The Ministry of Defence had refused to comply with the ICO order to disclose the information within 7 days; during the ICO hearings, the Ministry had claimed the disclosing any part of the agreement posed a threat to national security.