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Why setbacks in Maldives have security implications for India?
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"Why setbacks in Maldives have security implications for India?"
Maldives, the smallest neighbor of India, is currently facing major setbacks. One of the setbacks includes the arrest of the ex-president of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, for the alleged abuse of power during his term. Last month, he even avoided two arrest warrants by seeking refuge at the Indian Embassy.
When Mohamed Nasheed was the president of Maldives, from 2008 to 2012, bilateral ties between India and Maldives strengthened because India was able to enhance political and economic relations with a country that had its first democratically elected leader. So, during his presidency, India found it easy to spread and strengthen democratic values and ideologies in Maldives.
However, because of the recent turn of events, Mohamed Nasheed will not be allowed to take part in future elections, causing democracy to fade away from the country’s future. Autocratic governments, combined with coups and political conspiracies, will be detrimental to the bilateral ties between the two countries. Generally, it is difficult to strengthen ties between democratic and non-democratic countries because of the differences in ideologies and regulations.
Maldives had been under autocratic rule for 45 years, led by Ibrahim Nasir and Abdul Gayoom. And when Mohamed Nasheed, during his term, ordered the arrest of the Chief of Criminal Court, Abdullah Mohammad, for helping Gayoom in his illegitimate activities by blocking legal action against him, he was forced to step down as the president at gun point.
This is indeed a conspiracy by Islamists to ensure that democracy never prevails in Maldives. An autocratic country led by corrupt political leaders is a recipe for disaster, and it only spells doom for India. These leaders encourage and support Sunni fundamentalists in their illegal activities. This will eventually make Maldives a haven for both terrorists and weapons of mass destruction.
With Mohamed Nasheed’s arrest, it is evident that India will not have as much influence on Maldives as it had before. With terrorists swarming the area and with piracy rampant in the waters shared by India and Maldives, India truly has something to worry about.
Apart from Maldives, India has been losing influence in nearby countries, including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. And rival countries such as Pakistan and China are becoming more powerful compared to India; the US has been supporting Pakistan in its missions in Afghanistan and China has been gaining power in Myanmar and Nepal.
This is definitely not good news for India as it stands isolated, with no proper defense mechanism to protect the country in case of attacks from increasingly powerful neighbours.
Hence, setbacks in Maldives definitely have major security implications for India because India is dependent on its neighbouring countries for political and economic support.
With Maldives embracing autocracy instead of democracy, and with the rise of terrorism in the region, India has to rethink its defence strategies. Surrounded by rivals on either side, India has to work hard on its diplomatic relations to ensure that the country does not suffer major setbacks in the future.