Maldives, the archipelago nation, is going through an unruly political deadlock in recent days since its president Abdullah Yameen declared a fifteen day state of emergency following the emancipation of twelve lawmakers, including former pro-Indian president Mohammed Nasheed, last week by apex court from dungeon. Male's attorney Anil denunciated the verdict, chastised the judges for giving "motivated judgement" and stated that "We've received information that things might happen that will lead to a national security crisis."
There was another rumour that the Supreme Court might issue a ruling to impeach the president from power. Yameen summoned Maldivian army to protect the interest of the state and soon Male's NDC spokesman said in a statement that it would work to stop activities that "openly threaten the security and safety of the Maldives" and took charges of various important places. Police arrested CJ Abdulla Saeed and another judge allegedly for taking millions of dollars bribe in return for the court edict.
In spite of having been detained almost for a month in his abode, opposition leader Mamoon Abdul Gayoom, a half brother of Abdullah Yameen and former dictator of Maldives, was also apprehended on the very next day. Amidst that, the exiled president of the island nation Nasheed has urged by using twitter: "On behalf of Maldivian people we humbly request: India to send envoy, backed by its military, to release judges and pol. detainees... We request a physical presence". In the meantime, Raajje TV, a channel of the opposition also has been shut down in Friday.
Maldives has been a satellite state of India for twenty years since a military intervention on request of the serving president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who was under attack and seize by a group of Tamil mercenaries hired by a Maldivian businessman in 1988. After two decades of tyranny of Mamoon Abdul Gayoom, Nasheed ascended the office in 2008, but in 2012, he was forced to resign following countrywide strike and unrest triggered by economic crisis. There was no noteworthy foreign direct investment, and inflation skyrocketed to 23 per cent!
Abdullah Yameen defeated his rival and ascended the state power with a large margin (45.45% versus 25.35% votes and 51.39% versus 48.61% votes) and has constructed a close G2G (government to government) tie with China. Maldives has awarded them $434 million Mega Housing Project, $800 million Airport expansion project, and Yameen recently has inked Free Trade Agreement pact with China along with 12 different MoUs to promote Belt and Road Initiative - China's second consecutive Free Trade Agreement after Pakistan in South Asian Region.
Maldives is one of the ongoing flash points in South Asia where India and China have been facing off each other recently. One of the globally known flash points between China and India was Doklam, where the Indian Army was defeated by the Chinese People's Liberation Army last year, and the fallout of that conflict is still felt in Indo-Chinese relationship. China is now constructing a highly equipped Military Complex near Doklam so that China can respond near the Shiliguri Corridor as soon as possible.
In Myanmar, China struck major financial and military contracts with the increasingly globally isolated regime of Aung San Suu Kyi. While Myanmar is giving China off-shore and onshore oil contracts, India also got a few business deals. Myanmar's once pro-western leader Suu Kyi is now moving closer towards China after facing international backlash over the Rohingya refugee crisis.
Nepal, which also used to be a satellite state of India, held a legislative election in two phases on 26 November and 7 December 2017 where pro-Indian Nepali Congress was defeated miserably by pro-Chinese left-wing coalition who is now going to form a new government. Anti-Indian Khadga Prasad Oli will be the likely future Nepal prime minister.
In 2014, Yameen passed a Special Economic Zone bill which allowed foreign companies to own Maldives land indefinitely. Therefore, Saudi King Salman expressed interest to buy one of the Atolls called "Faafu" to construct a luxurious resort. Last year, when China inked 69 billion dollar business deal with KSA, Saudi King somehow refused to visit Male and abandoned his buying proposal.
There is a geo-strategic interest of China in Maldives. In the Indian Ocean, two military bases - Diego Garcia and Andaman Nicobar - are operated by the United States of America and India respectively. For stabilising Chinese BRI and securing its shipping lane through the rival's territory, it is mandatory for China to enthrone pro-Chinese Maldivian politico. Since last two years it has been rumoured that the China will soon construct a port in the southern part of the Maldives to counter its rivals' Bases in Indian Ocean. They already have built Deep Sea ports in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and in Pakistan.
So, adding Maldives in the so called String of Pearls of China, it will certainly put India as well as the USA in an uncomfortable position. Apparently, that is why Maldives is likely to be a proxy war zone for the world powers in the coming days. Since India has stopped its troop sending procedure owing to absorb Chinese threat, there is a strong possibility that they will move from haven to earth to save Abdullah Yameen's regime from any Indo-USA intrigue.
Kawser Ahmed is a social media commentator
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