According to the report by Associated Press on October 12th, India government announced in an official release on October 11th that Abdulla Yameen, President of the Republic of Maldives, promised that the country would give “top priority” to India in future diplomatic policies. An editorial of Hindustan Times says that India and Maldives have conceived a new blueprint for their bilateral cooperation, heralding the warming of India-Maldivian relationship after the new Maldivian government “slanted towards China” in the previous year.
The report also mentions that President Yameen’s promise was a response to Sushma Swaraj, India’s Minister of External Affairs, who promised that India would give “top priority” to the neighboring countries in her diplomatic policies, so as to share the bonus of development with “closest neighbors”. According to the report by Hindustan Times, Swaraj was attending the fifth conference of India-Maldivian joint committee in Maldives, from October 10th to 11th. In the conference, the two sides discussed extensively. Their topics range from healthcare to commercial trade, and even security relationship, which appears in the agenda of conference for the first time. The conference is restarted after a 15-year interval, and by coincidence, marking the 50th anniversary since India and Maldives established formal diplomatic relationship.
Associated Press points out that after Mohamed Nasheed, former President of Maldives, was arrested in the political turmoil not long ago, Maldives’s diplomatic policy has been slanting towards China. “livemint”, an Indian website claims that Maldives’s promise at this moment is of strategic significance to India, as India is apprehending that China might launch new military bases in India’s neighboring countries.
In an interview with Global Times on October 13th, Sun Shihai, director of Chinese Association for South Asian Studies, says that “Pro-India faction” is omnipresent in the political world of South Asian countries – a result of geo-political impact. But on the other hand, these countries fear that India will take full command of them, and therefore hope to share with China her bonus of economic development, by bringing closer their relationships with China. In the long run, the promise of Yameen will not do harm to China’s investment in Maldives, or any other country concerned. Besides, China and India are obligated to deepen their mutual understanding and trust.