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Question:  Give an account of bilateral ties between India and Maldives. Explain how events such as #IndiaOut campaign can put relationship in jeopardy.

 

Answer:  India and Maldives relations have always been strong except for a brief period when President Abdulla Yameen was at the helm. The anti-India narrative started during that tenure and has still been prevalent in some sections.

Bilateral ties between two countries

  • Security
    India is the net security provider for the Indian Ocean Region. Any problems faced by countries such as Maldives, India is first to respond.
    Ex: Operation Cactus in 1988 to resolve the hostage situation.
  • Relief operations
    Maldives is vulnerable to natural calamities such as cyclones. Even during pandemic, India helped Maldives with medical supplies and also vaccines.
  • Trade and culture
    Maldives is majorly dependent on tourism sector. Majority of the tourists are Indians. India is Maldives’ largest trade partner and investor in its economy.

IndiaOut campaign

  • Certain sections of the country believe that India is bullying Maldives and forcing it to abandon its sovereignty.
  • India’s gifting of Dhruv helicopters for humanitarian mission is seen as militarization of the atoll.
  • There is also rumor among political circles that the current government is allowing Indian military bases in certain island.

Implications of IndiaOut campaign

  • Strengthening Chinese sentiments
    China may make use of this opportunity to recover its lost ground. It may interfere in political decisions and use debt trap diplomacy again.
  • Weakening bilateral relations
    The ruling government in Maldives will be forced to abandon some of its decisions under public pressure if this campaign strengthens.
  • Losing strategic space
    Exiting Maldives amounts to losing strategic space in Indian Ocean Region. It will spell a doom for India’s global ambitions.

Thus, India must tread a careful path. It must avoid extreme actions and instead use diplomatic skills to negate the issue and strengthen its position.

Updated on 25 Jul 2021 |   Added on .13 Jul 2021  |  by admin