Letters and Editorials 1211 Views

Maldives political crises seems to have come to an end

A very popular tourist destination for international holiday makers, referred to as Honeymoon Islands, recently plunged into political instability as the nosy interference of upcoming superpower in the neighbourhood contributed to create the political turmoil. Ex-President Nasheed accused President Yameen of acting illegally and sought international intervention.

The ousted President earlier called on India to send its troops to restore his power and presidency but the political observers internationally are of the opinion that Chinese influence in the Island nation on the rise, it is very unlikely that India, at the moment, would fish in Maldives troubled waters. India, however, showed its concern saying it was disturbed by the latest happenings in Maldives. Indian Prime Minister Modi on an overseas visit is trying hard to seek help from Trump administration, Israel and governments in the western capitals to intervene in Maldivian crises.

Former President Nasheed in exile in London currently in Colombo states that New Delhi can be the ´game changer´ and says "I have faith in India and we need India´s physical presence to solve the problem´. Calling for India´s military intervention, the ex-president mentioned about his close connection with India through ´literature, Indian films and food´. His Maldivian Democratic Party has common interest and shared concerns especially of increasing Chinese presence and growing ´Islamic radicalization´. Reports The Hindu (February 09, 2018)

The local well-known daily newspaper Maldives Independent reports that China slaps down India over Maldives crises (February 07, 2018) adding that India has no justification for intervening in its domestic problem. "China rattled New Delhi with closer ties to the tiny Island country referring to the chaos in subdued fashion". The daily also reports that Maldives is significant because of its proximity to international sea lanes through which majority of the world´s oil and half of its container shipments pass. The state-run Global Times accused India of having a strong desire to control South Asian countries; China, on the contrary, is lending Maldives millions of dollars binding the two countries closer together, the Daily added.

Meanwhile, the government of President Yameen has sent out envoys to friendly countries like Saudi Arabia, China and Pakistan to provide updates on the current political situation. Billions of dollars Chinese aid used in the economic development has been the hallmark of closer ties between government under President Yameen and China. The assistance also goes into the fields of human resources, oceans, environment, and health care.

Pakistan and Maldives have strong ties sharing the same religious, social and economic aspects and both are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Abdulla Yameen visited Islamabad in May 2015 and as member nations of the SAARC, Pakistan has enjoyed friendly bilateral relations with Maldives for nearly half a century. Maldives refers to Pakistan as a proven sincere friend. As a token of goodwill gesture Pakistan built the Parliament building in Capital Male considered as a momentous occasion to bond the relationship between the two countries.

India, as is widely known, for a long time now scuttled every move for SAARC to hold the scheduled periodic meetings to sort out problems severally and collectively, if any. It would help the neighbouring countries to have economic cooperation and maintenance of peace and security in the region that would certainly benefit all countries including India. But India having its deep rooted problems with China and Pakistan is averse to such an idea and aspires to hold the countries as hostage through political hegemony, unfortunately.

Any economic and financial aid to Maldives by Saudi Arabia is termed by India as a ´plot´ to promote Wahabism and Islamic radicalism. Maldives having one hundred percent Muslim population has strong religious ties with Saudi Arabia and its aid comes in billions of Dollars to boost up its economy, offers scholarships and other developmental needs including investment in schools and universities.

Nepal has had problems with India and historically with Indian political control Kathmandu has always been unstable facing turmoil disturbing its backbone of economic structure which again is tourist inflow. Since the times Nepal built a political relationship with China on the basis of equality, non-interference and mutual respect, Nepal witnessed advancement towards building its nation economically giving people peace and better living standards.

Bangladesh in the south-west pushed hard through border skirmishes, kidnappings; economic stranglehold till Bangladesh succumbed and accepted India as the superpower bully that cannot be challenged. Prime Minister Hasina Wajid would not be able to take any political decision without an approval from New Delhi.

Bhutan an independent sovereign Kingdom is considered as a breakaway state of Indian Union and the Kingdom permanently lives in perpetual fear. Bhutan a landlocked country depends wholly on India and its Royal Bhutan Army maintains extensive military ´relations´ with Indian army. Bhutan has signed a ´friendship´ treaty with India in 1949.

Sri Lanka bled profusely during insurgency in the north´s Jaffna Peninsula. It was after huge cost paid by Sri Lanka in men and material and with the help of friendly countries in diplomatic and military intelligence Sri Lanka managed to crush the rebellion and heaved a sigh of relief. However, a blunder made by its President J R Jayawardene, inviting Indian army to help quell the Tamil insurgency would have cost Sri Lanka its independence but sheer luck exposed RAW´s (Indian Research & Analysis Wing) intentions and India was asked to withdraw its forces. RAW had begun to fund, arm and train several Tamil insurgent groups.

In a nutshell, India does not get along very well with its neighbours and for reasons very well understood by international community believes fomenting trouble and discontentment. As a matter of policy the people at the helm in India aspire to push hard to maintain its political, economical and military influence in the region costing it billions of dollars. It would just be a matter of time for people in India to understand that peace can be achieved only by recognizing the rights of others like Maldivians to live in peace without any interference from outside forces.