NEW DELHI: The present political crisis in the Maldives has posed a real challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomatic prowess. The step taken by the pro-China President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen to send special emissaries to countries like China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia has worsened the situation further.
India has kept its forces ready to send to the Maldives to face any situation there when the president declared the emergency in that country after imprisoning even the chief justice of that country.
It was after the ex-president of the Maldives and the present leader of oppositions Muhammed Nasheed had sought the support of India’s intervention in the matter that the president has sought the support of other countries.
Actually, the Maldives government wants to avoid an Indian intervention in the matter and that is why they have sought the support of China. On the other hand, China is very keen to interfere with the internal developments in countries neighbouring India.
In the Maldives, China has already launched many projects based on the conviction that that as in the case of Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh, Maldives also has a very strategic position especially when China has to deal with India.
At the same time, the geographical position of the Maldives in the Arabian Sea is very important for India due to security reasons. As it is located very close to both Chennai and Kochi India has to make proper intervention there. India had sent its forces to the Maldives in 1988 when the Island nation faced a similar situation and a coup was staged there with the support of a splinter group of the Tamil Tigers.
In that event, India could suppress the rebels and the present pro-China government in the Maldives is very upset over that historic event.
But with regard to the Maldives India has some geographical advantages. The Indian troops can enter the Maldives within very short time and that is the real challenge both China and Pakistan face in the Maldives issue.
Similarly, the US also has its military station in the area and hence the US administration is also viewing the developments there very seriously.
The US wants India to intervene in the Maldives before China establishes its power there. The US points out influence enjoyed by India among the people of the Maldives. The people of the Maldives depend mainly on India for essential commodities, health care and for their educational requirements.
Meanwhile, reports said that the US will react strongly if China prepares for some military misadventures in the Maldives. As far as India and Prime Minister Modi are concerned the Maldives crisis has posed an ordeal.
If India takes some foolish steps in the Maldives issue the country has to pay heavily for that. If it happens, even the leadership of Narendra Modi who is known as one of the strongest rulers will be at stake.
On the other hand, if India can handle the issue without leaving any chance for China to enter into the scene that will be a great achievement for the Modi government and that will give an extra confidence for them to face the general elections to the Lok Sabha to be held in 2019.