Failure of Indian Diplomacy as Maldives turns anti-India, while China smiles

Problems of a big nature are brewing in our neighborhood.  Maldives is on a collision course with India – because it believes that Chinese are there to look after their back.  And, as I see it, India is playing right into the Chinese hands!

Recently, Maldivian President’s spokesperson Adil Riza called India’s top Diplomat to Maldives DM Mulay as a “traitor” and an “enemy” of the country.  Also the GMR airport contract was cancelled recently in Maldives.  This has brought swift retaliation from India.

“President Mohamed Waheed (of Maldives) has taken some arbitrary decisions, so let him face the consequences,” a senior South Block official told Mail Today.

Such “tit for tat” would have been ok, if the Chinese weren’t breathing down Maldives neck.  They are.  And Maldives is just another point in encircling India with antagonistic countries and regimes.  They have already made Nepal substantially anti-India.  They are slowly working on others.  The Diplomacy should have looked at more engagement to obviate the Chinese impact.  However, the South Block took a different turn.  DM Mulay was moved to US, and brought Rajiv Shahare in, who looks after the West Asia portfolio.

New Delhi believes that vested interests are at work in the Maldives to foment anti-India sentiments and hurt bilateral relations. Nor is the increasing interest of China in the Maldives hidden from India.  Adhaalath, a radical Islamic party in Maldives, tweeted on Thursday: “We would rather give the airport contract to our friends in China, who now make the majority of our tourist population.”  President Waheed has maintained that the cancellation of the GMR airport contract was not a political decision.
“We have always maintained that this it was a commercial contract signed by the former (Mohamed) Nasheed government under dubious conditions. We remain confident that India- Maldives relation will not be affected by the cancellation of the GMR contract by MACL (Maldives Airports Company Ltd),” he said.

Whatever the situation, and provocation from Maldives’ ruling coalition, it is imperative that we recognize our long term interest in the country.

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