The Maldives has become a member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
The island nation's membership was approved at the 18th meeting of the Council of Ministers held in Durban, South Africa on November 2.
Maldives, which applied to become an IORA member in 2017, became the 22nd member of the inter-governmental organisation which works to strengthen regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region.
Maldives' application was first considered by the IORA Committee for Senior Officials last July, where Mauritius had objected to the Maldives' membership due to the latter voting against a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly regarding the sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago.
The Wire news website reported that Maldives' membership was backed by India, which held informal talks with the Mauritius delegation, after which the latter did not raise objections to approving Maldives' application at the Council of Ministers.
According to The Wire, the Indian delegation changed its stance and decided to support the Maldives in favour of the impending government transition, after joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih beat incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in the Presidential Election in September.
Alongside Maldives, the other nation to be recommended as a new IORA member was Myanmar. While Myanmar's application had initially been approved by senior officials, its membership was barred by South Africa at the Council of Ministers, following pressure from voluntary groups working on the Rohingya issue.
Established in 1997, IORA's member states include Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, Yemen, and now the Maldives.