Maldives President Yameen began a two day state visit to India on April 10 and held talks with Indian Prime Minister Modi on April 11. During the meeting India decided to accelerate and take forward the port among various other infrastructure projects. On the same day the Times of India reported that the topic of China took up a lot of time of the talks between Modi and Yameen and the former Maldives Foreign Minister said that China may also build a port in the southern part of Maldives.
The Economic Times on April 11 reported that the topic of defence cooperation was included in six of the agreements signed, such as the development of a port, building of military forces, maritime reconnaissance, were some of the important cooperation details. Modi said that President Yameen expressed agreement with India’s strategy and agreed to protect India’s interests while Yameen stated that Maldives will proceed with its “India-first” foreign policy. Some Indian media commentaries stated that currently China is expanding its influence over Maldives which is a source for concern for India.
The Times of India reported that China is likely build a port in Gadhoo Island in southern Maldives. which will “ directly impinging India’s interests in the Indian Ocean region”. Former Maldives Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem told the Times of India that said while the government had not yet confirmed it, there were indications that Maldives was looking to let the Chinese build a port at Gaadhoo island in the southern atoll. The local population had already been evacuated and a Chinese engineering team is on site currently building a road. The Times of India report stated that although China has previously denied rumours that it is building a military base, but China are known to “strengthen control via the construction of ports”.