While it is Gayoom's goal to be free of dependent relationships, his country's underdeveloped status and vulnerability to invasion necessitate a close relationship with India. Furthermore, it will continue to rely on petroleum and consumer goods imported from Japan, Western Europe, and Thailand.
The Gayoom administration supports the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free "Zone of Peace" for the Indian Ocean and surrounding countries. This item was initially included in the agenda of the Twenty-Ninth Session of the UN General Assembly in 1974 at the request of Pakistan. Since the inclusion of this item, the government of the Maldives has repeatedly voted in favor of the resolutions adopted under the item.
During Gayoom's administration, Maldives has increased its participation in international organizations. It became a full member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 1985. Gayoom served as chairman of the SAARC in 1990–1991 and 1997–1998. Maldives is a member of the UN, the Islamic League, the Asian Development Bank, and the Colombo Plan.
Following the initiative of President Gayoom, the Maldives was one of the first countries to sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of Children; the country has since introduced a law on child protection. During the ninth SAARC summit held in the Maldives in 1997, President Gayoom proposed the establishment of a convention on regional arrangements for the promotion of child welfare in South Asia.
In March 1999, British deputy prime minister John Prescott gave a grant of a half-million dollars for coral preservation to South Asia during a visit to the Maldives. The ultimate crisis for the Maldives is truly global—pollution from international industry causes the warming effect around the world. The Maldivian role, under President Gayoom, has been to call attention to the global warming emergency. Individually, small South Asian countries like the Maldives do not really have the clout to change environmental regulations, but together they may be a force to be reckoned with.