Amid speculations about China’s growing interference in the Maldives’ internal affairs, Male apparently wants India to be its closest ally. The news comes as there is a state of emergency declared in the island country. A number of people claim that Beijing is playing a key role in the political crisis.
China has apparently invested a significant amount of money in the development of the Maldives. Mohamed Nasheed, who has taken political refuge in India, has claimed that the Maldives owes more than 70 percent of its debt to China. The former Maldivian president also claims that the country has to spend almost a quarter of its annual budget to pay back the interest.
The Maldives earlier signed a free trade agreement with Beijing in a move to support China’s trillion-dollar project Belt and Road.
Even a number of politicians from Sri Lanka have made similar comments about the Maldives’ indebtedness to Beijing. China apparently wants to have a stronger hold in the Indian Ocean. That’s why it wants to have a greater influence on the Maldives, they claim.
In a recent move, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and Supreme Court judges. He has also declared a state of emergency in the country. The move is critical because the country is going to have its next presidential election later this year.
China has, however, dismissed the accusations. It says it has only played a constructive role in the ongoing political crisis.
According to the Voice of America, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi believes the Abdulla Yameen government has the “wisdom and ability” to restore normalcy in the country. His statement comes as Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, has called the emergency an “all-out assault on democracy.”
Meanwhile, Ahmed Mohamed has said in an interview that the Maldives prefers India to be its closest ally. The Maldives Ambassador to India told NDTV that India should be more proactive, especially because there is a growing “perceived perspective” about China’s interference.
Calling India as the Maldives’ “brother,” Ahmed Mohamed believes India should play a “better” role in the Maldives.
“More than China,” he said.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked the Maldives government to end the state of emergency immediately.