India has no justification for intervening in the Maldives crisis, Chinese state media has said, as former president Mohamed Nasheed renewed his appeal for international help to resolve the turmoil.
He asked India to send troops after a state of emergency was declared. Since his plea two top judges have been arrested and a Supreme Court order to release high-profile prisoners, including him, has been revoked.
China, which has rattled New Delhi with closer ties to the tiny country, referred to the chaos in subdued fashion on Tuesday.
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 state-run Global Times, a hawkish tabloid that often reflects the thinking of the communist party leadership, accused India of having “a strong desire to control South Asian countries.”
“New Delhi is particularly sensitive to any endeavor by small South Asian states toward independence and autonomy, especially ties with other major powers. New Delhi takes it for granted that it can openly intervene in their domestic affairs,” it said.
“When (President Abdulla) Yameen’s government signed a free trade agreement with China and joined the Belt and Road initiative, Indian public opinion reacted harshly,” said the editorial, referring to a massive deal that commits both nations to reduce tariffs on most goods to zero.
The FTA and the hundreds of millions of dollars that China is lending the Maldives have bound the two countries closer together.
Nasheed has accused China of a land grab.