Maldives President Solih bans ‘India Out’ campaign
Recently the President of Maldives has issued an order banning the “India Out” campaign.
This step has been taken to safeguard the long standing bilateral relations between Maldives and India and to ensure the national and regional security of Maldives.
The “India Out” campaign is being seen as an organized campaign. Its purpose is to break the ties between the two countries by creating unrest.
One of the reasons for this anti-India operation is bilateral cooperation by India to develop a port on Uthuru Thilafalhu (UTF) Atoll for the Maldives Coast Guard in 2021. Rumors were spread in Maldives that Indian military personnel would be stationed there.
Maldives is strategically important to India for the following reasons as Maldives is located near the west coast of India, and Maldives lies at the center of the commercial sea route passing through the Indian Ocean.
The two countries have signed a security cooperation agreement on behalf of India for capacity building in the maritime sector.
Maldives is part of Colombo Security Conference. India has started it. The Conclave envisages peaceful cooperation in the Indian Ocean with Sri Lanka and Mauritius.
India is building High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) on various atolls in Maldives.
India’s vision for the Maldives is inspired by the Security and Development for All (SAGAR) vision in the region. This vision has been developed to assist island nations in the eastern Indian Ocean.
Other concerns in India-Maldives relations –
- Political instability: The previous government in Maldives was pro-China. It created a gap in Indo-Maldives relations.
- Relations with China: Maldives has emerged as an important “pearl” of China’s “String of Pearls” policy in South Asia. Also, heavy Chinese investments in areas like the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge are a matter of concern for India.
- Islamic fundamentalism: The political and socio-economic uncertainty is attracting a large number of Maldivians to terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS) and Pakistan-based madrassas and jihadist groups.
Source – The Hindu