India & Maldives – Editorial
Simplified Editorial of Hindu, India and Maldives of the Hindu 19th December
- New Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih visited India
- This is Mr. Solih’s first overseas visit after becoming the President.
- Defeated Abdulla Yameen in the Maldivian presidential elections
- President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih is close to Indian government, while previous president Abdulla Yameen was closer to China.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attended the swearing in ceremony of Mr. Solih as the President of Maldives in November. That was PM Modi’s first visit to the Island nation Maldives.
- Mr. Solih’s visit will strengthen the traditionally close bond between the two countries.
- India announced a financial assistance package of $1.4 billion for the Maldives in the form of budgetary support, currency swap agreements and concessional lines of credit.
- Currency swap agreements means both the nation can trade in their nation’s currency like Rupees or Maldivian rufiyaa.
- To enhance co-operation both the countries have agreed to strengthen maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) through coordinated patrol and aerial surveillance.
- To boost trade ties Indian companies has been invited to invest in the Maldives. Areas of investments are:
- Transportation, connectivity
- Fisheries development
- Health, Education, Information
- New and renewable energy &
- Under Previous President Yameen, Maldives came too close to China for India’s comfort and undertook many infrastructure projects. India’s closer security ties were ignored.
- These infrastructural projects include the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, which connects Malé’s eastern edge to the western corner of the island of Hulhule.
- Today Maldives owe a big amount of loan to China and faced with crisis it is looking to India to bail out to some extent with more budgetry support.
- Government is already trying to ensure that help reaches to Maldives on time, which in turn will fuel lost touch in the foreign policy which happened in last few years.
- China is not going to disappear from the Maldivian foreign policy matrix. Nor should India expect it to. But being geographically closer to India, its role will be of much importance in the Maldivian political developments.
- India’s patient handling of the Maldivian situation is auguring well.
- After a meeting of the ‘Quad’ countries (India, Japan, the US and Australia) in Singapore in November, the U.S., for example, released a statement expressing support for the new Maldivian government.
- The new Maldivian government will need India support in the region as under the previous government the Islamist extremism has grown and the institutional fabric of the country has been battered.
- Instead of perpetually viewing the dynamics from a China centric perspective, India must keep its eyes firmly on its long term relation Maldives.
- More the involvement with its neighbor the more return India will get in the future.
News: Editorial Hindu