Can Narendra Modi's foreign policy win over Maldives?

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While Sri Lanka, one of India's maritime neighbour, is changing tracks in foreign policy after a new president took over, the exact opposite his happening in another maritime neighbour of New Delhi, the Maldives. [China's creeping expansionism: Why Modi's visit to Maldives is important?]

Ugly Nasheed incident shows democracy under threat in Maldives

The ugly dragging of former Maldivian president and current opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed by the security forces of that country on charges of terrorism has earned Male criticism from countries like India, the US, Canada and even the United Nations and European Union.

Can Modi win over Maldives?

Maldives has said it doesn't need any external guidance

But the government of Maldives has taken little cognisance of such criticism. Maldivian authorities have even said that they are not prepared to receive advice or instructions from any external party. The political turmoil in the tiny island nation ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scheduled visit there has also raised more uncomfortable questions.

Maldives' twin treats to India

The situation in Maldives has posed twin threats to India. On one hand, the mishandling of a pro-Indian leader by those in power indicates that the small state is tilting more towards China.

Current Maldivian President Abdullah Yameen, who took over in November 2013, has been accused by Nasheed of favouring Chinese companies and reports suspect that the ugly manner in which he was treated is something orchestrated by the Chinese, who are known for their ruthless suppression of the opposition.

China's growing influence on Maldives

Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party had suspected that Chinese money was entering Maldives following Yemeen's election to turn the latter into a military base although Beijing denied it outright.

China is perhaps feeling rattled by the fast changing realities in South Asia. The growing bonhomie between India and the US and change in ground realities in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, nations that China has tried to influence to contain India in South Asia and Indian Ocean region, have thrown serious challenge to Beijing's plans and a weakening Pakistan is also not doing much favour to China's strategic interests.

Is Maldives crisis a pointer to China's growing frustration with India?

Growing number of Maldivian youth joining Jihadis in Syria

But apart from the political and strategic reasons, the growing number of Maldivian youth rushing to Syria to join the Jihadis has posed a bigger threat to Maldives' security in particular and South Asia's security in general. In fact, the growing radicalisation could backfire on the very anti-Indian regimes in Male and Beijing.

The manhandling of the opposition leader could encourage the radical elements of the country and undermine the fledgling democracy in the island nation.

Narendra Modi has so far done a good job in winning confidence of bigger and far-off nations and reduced the gap with them to add to India's strength in international relations. Can he now take Maldives in his fold as he did with Nepal and Bhutan in the recent past?

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