Maldives has not given any reason for the decision, Lanba told reporters on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi.
Navy sources said over 16 countries have confirmed their participation in the exercise.
India will host navies from at least 16 countries for the eight-day mega naval exercise with an aim to expand regional cooperation and combat unlawful activities in critical sea lanes.
The biennial exercise ‘Milan’ is being organised at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the backdrop of China’s growing military posturing in the Indo-Pacific region and officials said the issue is likely to figure during deliberations among navy chiefs of the participating countries at the event.
India, the US and several other nations have been pressing for freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea.