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US won’t set up permanent military base in Male
Publication Date : 08-05-2013
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake yesterday denied media reports that the Obama administration was planning a permanent military base in the Maldives.
Blake was responding to concerns being raised in both India and Sri Lanka about such a move.
News services quoted ambassador Bake as having said that the US had consulted India on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that it was currently negotiating with Maldives and which could be signed soon.
Blake, said, "We do not have any plans to have a military presence in Maldives."
He explained that the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) was an effort to provide a framework to the ongoing joint military exercises that the US has with Maldives.
Blake said, "I want to reassure everybody that this SOFA does not imply some new uptick in military co-operation or certainly does not apply any new military presence. It would just be to support our ongoing activities. I would like to reassure all our friends in India, what it is and what it isn’t. We have status of forces agreements with more than 100 nations around the world. And these are basically agreements we have with partners where we have significant military activities, typically exercises.’
"We always try to be transparent with India about everything that we are doing in South Asia. But certainly on Maldives, we always wanted to be transparent on our military activities," Blake added.