India-Maldives relation have hit the rock bottom. The President-elect of Maldives first ordered Indian troops to leave the island and then some fishermen being apprehended by the Male government. Experts say, the locals there have got the officials to believe that all the reinforcements and help provided by New Delhi is to help themselves to make Maldives as their military island in case China decides to do the same with Sri Lanka.
The president-elect of Maldives, Dr Mohamed Muizzu.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK. Stalin pleaded the centre to secure a release of all the apprehended fishermen by Maldivian cost guards
MK Stalin wrote a letter to MEA, S. Jaishankar asking him to secure a release of the fishermen who were on a venture on 10th October 2023 and were detained by the Maldivian coast guards. The fishermen started their voyage from Tharuvaikulam Fish Landing centre, Thoothukudi District, in Merchandised fishing boat with IND-TN-12-MM-6376 as its registration number.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, MK Stalin.
The CM also urged the EAM to take the matter with first priority and secure the release. “In this regard, i request you to take the matter to Maldives authority through appropriate diplomatic channels to secure the release of the detained fishermen and their fishing boats at the earliest”, the letter mentioned.
Following this the BJP President for Tamil Nadu, K. Annamalai also tweeted to EAM about the similar matter.
The Maldivian authorities justified the arrest of the fishermen by confirming their presence in the Maldivian waters and hence confiscated their barge.
Indian Troops Need To Leave the Maldives, Says Incoming President-elect of the island-nation
After a landslide win of the new President-elect of Maldives, Dr, Mohamed Muizzu has taken a stern step towards being “fully independent”. Maldives will ask Indian troops stationed in the island nation to leave, says Mohamed Muizzu, as New Delhi and Beijing both vie for influence in the region.
What are the Concerns Related to China’s role in India-Maldives row?
China’s Expanding Influence:
Beijing’s presence in the Maldives is a cause for concern, as it primarily serves its own interests. China’s economic engagement, often driven by debt financing, has led to concerns about debt traps and the resulting influence that China wields in the region.
Maldives have massive Chinese investment and became a participant in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China funded and built various projects in Maldives, including the development of ports, airports, bridges, and other critical infrastructure as part of the “String of Pearls” initiative.
China’s Hegemonic Ambitions:
China’s ambitions to establish hegemony in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) pose a potential threat to the development of a vibrant democracy in the Maldives.
The pro-China stance of the new President elect of Maldives created apprehensions in India about China’s growing influence in its immediate neighbourhood and the potential strategic implications.
India’s Security Concerns:
India has expressed concerns about China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean region, particularly in countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Maldives. The development of Chinese-controlled ports and military facilities in these areas has been seen as a challenge to India’s strategic interests and regional security.
What kind of Relations and History India & Maldives share?
India-Maldives Relations: $500 Million Grant Shared by India for the Greater Male Connectivity Project :
India pledged a package worth $500 Million to assist the Maldives in creating a Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP), the largest-ever infrastructure project. The Greater Male Connectivity Project concurs with Prime Minister Modi and President Solih’s goal of forging solid bilateral ties.
Its foundation was laid during EAM’s trip to Male in September 2019. The GMCP will include building a 6.74 km long bridge and causeway link to connect the neighbouring islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu, and Thilafushi with the capital city of Male.
Along with providing a $400 Million line of credit, India will contribute $100 million to the project. GMCP is substantial evidence that India is a reliable development partner of the Maldives and serves as the country’s first responder in case of an emergency there.
It will be a constant reminder of the alliance between India and the Maldives. This project will connect businesses, people, and industry.
Prime Minister Modi and President Solih :
Political Relations :
Regular high-level contacts have strengthened bilateral relations between India and the Maldives. India’s Prime Ministers have visited the Maldives frequently since establishing diplomatic relations. Former Maldivian President Gayoom also made several visits to India. President Mohamed Nasheed’s first foreign visit was to India in December 2008. President Nasheed attended the Delhi High-Level Conference on Climate Change and Technology Transfer in October 2009.
In 2010, President Nasheed visited India twice, once in January for the CII-Partnership Summit in Chennai and again in October for the 19th Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. In February 2011, President Nasheed made an official visit to India.
The Maldives consistently supported India on international issues in multilateral forums like the UN, the Commonwealth, the NAM, and the SAARC. The Maldives was among the first countries to support Shri Kamalesh Sharma’s candidature for the Commonwealth Secretary-General position.
The Maldives also co-sponsored the G-4 draft resolutions on UN Reforms. India has supported the Maldives’ candidature for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for 2019-20.
MEA S. Jaishankar & President Solih ahead of Maldives supports India’s candidature for UNSC non-permanent membership meet.
Indian Investment :
Since February 1974, the State Bank of India has played a significant role in the economic growth of the Maldives by offering loan assistance for the promotion of island resorts, the export of marine products, and business enterprises.
Taj Group of India operates Vivanta Coral Reef Resort and Taj Exotica Resort & Spa in the Maldives, which attracts a lot of tourism for the Male government.
The Male International Airport was taken over by the GMR Infrastructure (India) and KLIA (Malaysia) consortium in November 2010 as part of a 25-year BOT contract to renovate and expand the nation’s biggest and most significant airport.
In November 2009, Suzlon Energy of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build a 25 MW wind farm in the Southern Province of the Maldives for an investment of $40 Million. Bommidala Infrastructure of India signed a contract for a 25-MW solar energy project in July 2010 in the Upper Southern province.
Apart from all of this, India has been the first to help Maldives when there was a tsunami or any kind of natural calamity. India was the first country to provide COVID-19 aid to Maldives.