China has warned about a potential showdown with India if the South Asian country showed support for democracy or rule of law in Maldives. In what can be gauged as precursor to the potential conflicts in 21st Century, China is no longer mincing words.
The Indian response, however, has been far more diplomatic and inclusive. In a statement from Amman in Jordan, where Prime Minister Modi is presently travelling, a spokesperson said: ” We hope that all countries can play a constructive role in the Maldives, instead of doing the opposite.”
While international calls for direct intervention has grown louder, India is moving with caution. In series of tweets Mohamed Nasheed, ex President and leader of opposition too has called for the India boot on ground in Male.
Saying ‘resolve things internally’ is akin to asking us to escalate the revolt, which can lead to chaos. Maldivians see India’s role positively: in ‘88 they came, resolved the crisis, and left. They were not occupiers but liberators. This is why Maldivians look to India now.
— Mohamed Nasheed (@MohamedNasheed) February 7, 2018
On behalf of Maldivian people we humbly request:
1. India to send envoy, backed by its military, to release judges & pol. detainees inc. Prez. Gayoom. We request a physical presence.
2. The US to stop all financial transactions of Maldives regime leaders going through US banks.
— Mohamed Nasheed (@MohamedNasheed) February 6, 2018
However India is still hoping to resolve the crisis though diplomacy. New Delhi is gearing up to ask United Nations to send a fact-finding mission to Maldives.
President Yameen, whose actions to imprison Supreme Court judges and silence opposition and start the unwarranted crisis has sent special envoys to China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to rally support. India refused to receive his envoy. On Friday, he asked China to provide “security” for its investment in Maldives. China refused to send troops in the rapidly changing situation. However it was Indian statement that further build pressure on Yameen. India said “We note that China has said that Maldives government has the ability to protect the security of Chinese personnel and institutions in Maldives. We hope that all countries can play a constructive role in Maldives, instead of doing the opposite”.
US President Donald Trump called up Indian prime Minister to discuss the situation. Indian response is being closely watched across the capitals around the globe. Given the recent withdrawal of US from the world security issues its both an opportunity and requirement for India to step up. For example, successfully convincing Yameen to let the law of the land take over would send a very strong signal to Beijing that India means business. A failure however would embolden the Chinese to see Indian positions in Dokhalam or Vietnam as nothing more than a bluff.