Friendly neighbours – on India Maldives relations

Source– The post is based on the article “Friendly neighbours” published in The Hindu on 30th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- India and its neighbourhood relationship

Relevance– India and Maldives relationship

News– The article explains the recent political developments taking place in Maldives and its relevance for bilateral relationship between India and Maldives

What are important developments taking place in Maldives?

Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen was convicted by a criminal court in the Maldives just a year ahead of general elections.

It could affect his plans to lead the opposition alliance due to constitutional provisions of Maldives.

Mr. Yameen did not enjoy a good relationship with India. As opposition leader, he has spearheaded the “India Out” campaign.

Mr. Yameen had close links with China. His conviction may provide some relief to India.

Why India needs to be cautious about recent developments in Maldives?

India’s infrastructure aid, credit lines, loans and commissioning of various projects have created visible impacts.

Close ties and high-level military exchanges since 2018 have raised speculation that India is eyeing a base.

While Mr. Yameen may not be allowed to run in the next election, this might make space for even more radical elements in the opposition combine.

The Solih government has been prompt in countering Mr. Yameen’s allegations. But, the protests have gained some traction in parts of the country.

What is the way forward for India?

India must keep a close watch on other parts of Maldivian politics. It includes the rift between India’s closest friends there, President Solih and former President Nasheed.

India must actively project the image of a friendly and helpful neighbour. It should not explicitly be seen as interfering in the electoral process.

The Government needs to tread carefully when it comes to domestic politics in Maldives.

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