Maldives unrest could escalate India-China tensions

Maldives unrest could escalate India-China tensions
February 08 15:31 2018

Unrest in the Maldives has the potential to escalate tensions between China and India given their competition for regional influence, ratings agency Fitch warned Thursday.

A state of emergency declared Monday night by President Abdulla Yameen has triggered an onslaught of travel warnings from foreign governments, including China and the UK, advising their holidaymakers to be careful.

It has also put rivals India and China at loggerheads, with former president Mohamed Nasheed asking for New Delhi’s military intervention and Beijing advising the international community to respect the sovereignty of the Maldives “instead of further complicating the situation.”

The Maldives significance comes from its proximity to international sea lanes through which the majority of the world’s oil and half of its container shipments pass.

“The situation highlights the polarised nature of politics in the Maldives that has posed a risk to stability over the last decade,” said Fitch. “The current bout of turmoil could be protracted and may still intensify. The unrest even has the potential to escalate tensions between regional powers such as China and India, given their competition for influence in south Asia.

“The government’s large infrastructure and construction projects have added to pressures in recent years. Much of the financing for these projects has come from abroad.”

A free trade deal and the vast sums that China is lending the Maldives have bound the two countries closer together, spooking India.

On Wednesday Yameen dispatched special envoys to friendly nations – China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan – to provide updates on the state of emergency.

India, which is geographically closer to the Maldives than these three countries, is not on the list.

Maldivian ambassador to India, Ahmed Mohamed, explained the omission was due to scheduling issues.

“India was in fact the first stop planned and proposed for a visit of a special envoy of the president of Maldives. However, the dates proposed were not suitable for the Indian leadership,” he told PTI.

The Maldives embassy in New Delhi later issued a statement, hitting back at reports India had been “bypassed.”

“The first stop of special envoy of the President was India…but the visit was cancelled on the request of the Government of India. The Government of the Maldives was informed that the said dates were not suitable for India’s leadership.

“It is therefore grossly misleading to say that The Government of the Maldives was bypassing India.”

Yameen declared a state of emergency in response to a Supreme Court ruling ordering the release of key prisoners. He launched a purge of even more of his opponents, throwing former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and two top judges in jail, and suspended around 20 constitutional rights.

The ratings agency also warned about the impact of the crisis on the tourism sector, which is the country’s biggest industry.

“This high dependence on one sector subjects the economy to volatility, and leaves it vulnerable to developments that undermine the Maldives’ attractiveness as a holiday destination, such as the current bout of political instability or safety threats.”

write a comment


  1. Ex- expatriate
    February 08, 16:14 #1 Ex- expatriate

    This is not a regional problem. Why India n China need to fight for a country, where the current president does not want to have a free and fair election. The fact is Mr. YEMEN does not want any people to stand against him in the upcoming election. I think UN should send troops and solve this on going crisis. Maldivian
    People have lots to do for the benefit of their country.

    Reply to this comment
  2. dooky
    February 08, 17:08 #2 dooky

    Poverty India already messed internal affairs in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh…now pathetically watching the influence of China in these countries.
    Better let the poverty India build toilets to her citizens and teach how to use.Poverty India is the biggest open toilet in the world and top in rapes even 6 years old baby girl is not safe in the capital Delhi.
    Indian should clean her house first before correct others.

    Reply to this comment
    • Voice of Concern
      February 09, 16:18 Voice of Concern

      Hey armchair warrior ! stop making nonsense comments and come down to earth. By using filthy language about other nation, you are proving to be from some low land. Grow up as you are nothing but a lame individual poking your useless nose in matter that out of your knowledge. International politics are not for low life like you so if you think that, by shouting your lungs out with exaggerated data about india’s poverty will get you any attention then you are grossly mistaken. Now go inside your shit hole or bury your head inside sand.

      Reply to this comment
    • Pak's master
      February 09, 16:37 Pak's master

      Poverty pakistan messed with internal affairs of bangladesh and pathetically watching indian influence in these countries. Better let poverty pakistan build toilets and polio vaccines for its pakistani citizens how to use it. Poverty TERRORISTAN pakistan is biggest open toilet, terrorist capital of the world. Pakistan tops in rapes and has official rape culture called bachabaazi in Pakistsn. Even 4 year old baby girl is not safe in capital Islamabad. Pakistanthe terrorist and pedophile rape capital should clear its house first before correcting others

      Reply to this comment

Add a Comment

Your data will be safe! Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.
All fields are required.