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Maldives-China Military Pact

Why is it in the news?

  • Days after a technical team from India arrived in the Maldives for troop replacement at President Mohamed Muizzu’s request, the Maldivian Defence Ministry announced signing a military pact with China.

More about the newsTop of Form

  • Maldives signed a military pact with China, coinciding with the declaration that there would be no Indian military presence in the country.

China’s presence in Maldives has expanded significantly:

  • A Chinese firm acquired Feydhoo Finolhu on a 50-year lease.
  • Large-scale infrastructure projects, such as the $200 million China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, have been initiated.
  • The Chinese research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 03 has been granted permission to dock at the Male port.

Concerns for India

  • Security Implications: Chinese presence in Maldives raises concerns for Indian security, especially given the proximity of the island chain to India’s western coast.
  • Regional Balance of Power: China’s increasing presence in the region could challenge India’s influence and alter the regional balance of power. China has established a military base in Djibouti and developed dual-use ports in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, among others.
  • Strategic Competition: The Indian Ocean holds strategic significance for both India and China, and China’s growing influence intensifies strategic competition in the region.
  • China’s String of Pearls Strategy: It involves establishing a network of naval bases and infrastructure in the Indian Ocean, encircling India.

Steps taken by India to Counter Chinese Influence

  • Strengthening partnerships with like-minded countries such as the United States, Japan, Australia, and other regional partners to counterbalance Chinese influence.
  • Actively participating in multilateral forums like the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to foster cooperation and address security concerns.
  • Voicing concerns about China’s expanding influence through diplomatic channels and engaging in dialogue with regional and global stakeholders to address common challenges and maintain stability in the Indian Ocean region.

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