A brief item that utilises Indian and Maldives newspaper and website reports to inform Chinese readers of the new Maldives Government’s approach of “India first” and “special friendship” with India — something that has not been done in the Chinese media directly as yet.
……………………..The Maldives Times commented that Shahid’s first foreign visit to India has a special meaning. The last Maldives government has a tense relationship with India. However, when Saleh took office on the 17th, Modi flew to Male to attend his inauguration. Shahid said in an interview with the Asian News Agency of India on the 26th that India is a “special friend” of the Maldives. The Hindustan Times said that Shahid said that “India is our best friend.” The newspaper commented that Shahid is sending signals to China.
Shahid said on the 26th that India has been the biggest contributor to the development of the Maldives for decades. China has contributed the most visitors and has been very generous in terms of assistance. “We will not compare friends, but we have friends and special friends. India has always been a special friend.” Shahid said that after visiting India, he will fly to the UAE and Saudi Arabia. “This trip to friendly countries will also include China.” India’s TNN TV said on the 26th that Shahid’s visit to China shows that Beijing will continue to be an important economic partner of the island nation. Shahid said: “We don’t believe that India can replace China, or China can replace India. However, it is very obvious that neighbors are our priority.”