The signing of a Free Trade Agreement by China and Maldives earlier this month left India hurt. As a result, India “did its job” of instigating domestic opposition in the Maldives to attack the “pro-China” stance of the Government, but subsequent developments in the matter have left India more annoyed.
According to an Indian National Herald report of the 24th, first three Maldives government officials were suspended for “unauthorized” meetings with the Indian Ambassador to Maldives, thereafter the Maldives media also published an editorial in support of the current President Yaming, and accused Prime Minister Modi of being a “Hindu extremist,” which provoked a diplomatic protest by India. The Hindu newspaper also reported on the 23rd that movement of the Indian Ambassador to the Maldives had been restricted by the Government of Maldives. On the 24th, Maldives’s Ambassador to India, Mohammed, interviewed by the India’s National Herald reiterated Maldives’ “India first” commitment and said the above criticism of Modi’s social ideology had already been repealed.
“National Herald” said that when China and Maldives suddenly signed a free trade agreement, India was quite angry. This is the second free trade agreement to be signed between a South Asian country and China, after Pakistan. This is regarded as a sign that China has stepped up its influence in India’s “backyard” A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India publicly reminded the Maldives to abide by its “India first” commitment. In response, Maldives Ambassador to India said in an interview with a newspaper that the Maldives is ready to sign any international agreement that was in the interest of the Maldives’ economy Some politicians and self-righteous so-called diplomatic experts questioned the China FTA. They all have no basis.
The Ambassador said that Maldives and India have a long tradition of exchanges in history, culture and religion. Maldives will continue to honor its “India’s first” commitment and the long-tested relations between the two countries will not show any friction. He said India and China both play a strategic role in the economic development of Maldives.