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Maldives

Its been nearly a decade since Maldives politics has seen a semblance of calm. Since the country's first democratic elections in 2008, the archipelago has witnessed a police mutiny, the premature end of a government, nationwide protests and a marathon presidential election, with a tumultuous political landscape that does not look that it would quieten down.

 

The Maldives main opposition will support a presidential candidate from another party if its own candidate is jailed or barred from contesting next year’s elections, one of several official declarations made about 2018’s key poll.

 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this month that his country “disapproves” of spheres of influence in international affairs. He was speaking in Delhi, India’s capital, a fact that underscored a point China is making increasingly clear by other, less diplomatic means: the thing it really disapproves of is India maintaining a sphere of influence.

 

India-Maldives relations hit a rough spot over the last 10 days, prompting concerns in New Delhi about a potential waning of its influence over the small island nation. But why does this archipelago in the Indian Ocean matter so much to India, a regional superpower? Here are 5 reasons why:

 

The Maldives, in an attempt to soothe frayed nerves in New Delhi, has reached out to the Indian government and asked about the possibility of hosting a high-level bilateral visit. A report in The Times of India said the modalities of the talks are still being worked out, but the visit is expected to take place early next month.

 

New Delhi appears to be weighing diplomatic options after Male reportedly placed restrictions on the movement of the Indian Ambassador to the Maldives.

 

It’s confirmed now – the government of Maldives, headed by President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, has restricted the movements of Indian High Commissioner in Maldives, Akhilesh Mishra.

 

India said on Thursday that it attaches a lot of importance to its ties with the Maldives and hoped that the country will be sensitive to its concerns.

 

A pro-Abdulla Yameen paper has kicked up a fresh political storm in the Maldives by describing in an editorial Indian PM Narendra Modi as a Hindu extremist who is also anti-Muslim. The editorial in the local Dhivehi language went on to describe India as the biggest enemy nation and said that a "new best friend'' be found for Maldives in China.

 

After upsetting news for the Indian foreign policy establishment from Sri Lanka (99-year-long lease of Hambantota port to China) and Nepal (China-leaning Left alliance poised to form government after winning elections), there is yet another blow to South Block (India’s power corridors) from its neighbour and SAARC member, Maldives. The Indian Ocean nation, comprising 1,192 islands, with a total area of 298 square kilometers, and having a population of just a little over four lakh, has poked India in the eye.

 


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