Will India invade the Maldives?

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Will India invade the Maldives?

By
Rohantha De Silva

9 February 2018

Indian media reports indicate that New Delhi is actively considering invading the Maldives, a tiny Indian Ocean archipelago that is the object of intense geopolitical competition between India and the United States, on the one hand, and China on the other.

Exiled opposition leader and former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed is publicly campaigning for India to intervene militarily, claiming India must act to “save democracy” in the Maldives and prevent it from being “sold off,” “piece by piece,” to China.

The Times of India reported Wednesday that India’s armed forces are “on standby for any contingency in the Maldives from evacuation of Indian tourists to military intervention.” It added that India’s military is ready for “deployment at short notice,” already has military personnel in the Maldives under existing defence cooperation agreements, and could readily divert “warships currently on patrol on (its) western seaboard … if required for military intervention. “

India’s government, along with the US, Britain, and the European Union, has strongly condemned Maldives President Abdulla Yameen for imposing a 15-day state of emergency and suspending basic democratic rights so as to thwart a February 1 Supreme Court ruling that overturned Nasheed’s conviction, ordered the release of eight jailed opposition legislators, and restored 12 legislators to their seats in parliament.

Yesterday, New Delhi refused to receive a “special emissary” from the Maldives government tasked with explaining its actions.

Traditionally, India has had very close relations with the Maldives, which, as a fellow member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), it views…

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