‘Big bullies’: Maldives turns away from India as China woos it with aid

‘Big bullies’ Maldives turns away from India as China woos it with aid - Merchant Navy Info - news

A wave of anti-India sentiment has swept the country since Mohamed Muiz was elected president of the Maldives in September. This week, it became clear exactly where the  New Delhi government’s loyalties lie. “On May 10, there will be no Indian troops in the country. They will not be in uniform or civilian clothes. Indian troops will not come to this country in any attire. I say this with confidence,” Muiz said in a speech on Tuesday. A few days ago, the two neighbors were at loggerheads after Muiz made flimsy suggestions. That India was a “bully” against smaller countries in the region. In response, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said. A big tyrant will not give a big aid of $4.5 billion,” apparently. Referring to the huge amount of money that the Maldives still receives from India.

In Sharp Contrast

Muiz’s government this week announced an agreement with China to receive free “military aid” from Beijing. Which also provided the country with 12 ambulances. Although the Maldives has signed diplomatic and economic agreements with China in the past. This is the first time the two countries have established formal defense ties. Azim Zahir, a former adviser to the Maldives government. And professor of political science at the University of Western Australia, said: “It is surprising that Mr Muiz. Was able to establish military ties with China so quickly, as this may have angered New Delhi. It’s obvious that it’s going to happen,” he said. “This is a very new direction that is sure to increase tensions in the region.

The Maldives may be an archipelago of just 500,000 people best known as a tourist paradise. But its strategic Its importance far exceeds its size. And it is at the center of a long-running dispute between India and China for influence in the Indian Ocean. The country is also on the important east-west route that carries all of China’s oil supplies. From the Gulf and  is close to important US naval bases.

As China’s Pursuit Of Influence 

In the region, particularly in the Indian Ocean, has become more aggressive, India has also invested huge amounts of resources and development funds in the Maldives, right in its own backyard. I have often had a hard time competing. The Maldives’ previous government, led by President Mohamed Solih, increased its dependence on New Delhi, but in the past five years, India has overtaken China as the country’s biggest economic booster, with hospitals, schools, airports, etc., providing large amounts of funding and donations, from infrastructure to household support. In last year’s election, Muiz campaigned on the slogan “Kick India out” and focused on withdrawing dozens of Indian troops stationed in India and operating rescue helicopters and aircraft provided by India. And said this was a threat to national security. And national sovereignty.

Muiz And His Progressive 

Alliance governments were already known for their pro-China tendencies. During his last term from 2013 to 2018, he signed a free trade agreement with China. Mr Muiz, then mayor of the capital, Male, oversaw the construction of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, a £150m project linking the city to the airport. In what many saw as a clear sign of his priorities, Muiz’s first presidential visit after taking office was to China, where the two countries signed some 15 agreements, and since then, all Indian troops have been transferred from the country. We are sticking to our promise to withdraw the Indian civilian team that arrived in the Maldives this week to take over the duties of  89 military personnel, but the move was also met with resistance.

Tensions 

Have continued to rise since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Indian archipelago of Lakshadweep, 130 miles north of the Maldives, in January to promote tourism. The visit was seen by some  as an attempt to lure tourists away from the Maldives country, whose economy relies heavily  on tourist dollars. This led some Maldivian ministers to call Prime Minister Modi a “terrorist” and a “clown”, and he was later suspended for these comments. In response, many people in India called on tourists to boycott the Maldives, and  Indian travel companies suspended flights. 

Last month, the Maldives government also allowed a controversial Chinese research vessel to enter its waters despite objections from India, which called it a “spy ship.” The Maldives Ministry of Defense’s agreement with China, which was announced on Monday, is likely to further anger India. The agreement aims to secure “free military assistance from China.” It said the deal would foster “stronger bilateral relations”, although few details were disclosed.

Plans

India announced plans over the weekend to build a second naval base in the Lakshadweep Islands in an apparent attempt to strengthen its military presence in the region amid rising tensions. Mr. Zahir said that there are concerns that China has taken advantage of the deteriorating relationship between the Maldives and India and the country’s poor economic situation to conclude the defense agreement.

India’s response to the new Muiz administration is “short-sighted.” ” and said that it had the opposite effect. He pushed the country further into Beijing. Nevertheless, he stressed that the Maldives is unlikely to survive a complete severance of ties, given India’s large budgetary support. “Mr. Muiz is trying to break away from dependence on India, but I don’t know how far he can go,” he said.

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