Male, July 7: Maldives did it again. The archipelago located in the key Indian Ocean Region has expressed its anti-Indian mindset once again, this time by inking a capacity-building pact in the power sector with Pakistan, reports said.
As per a Times of India report, officials of Maldivian state power firm Stelco went to Pakistan last week and signed a memorandum of understanding for "cooperation in institution-building activities".
The latest development comes amid deteriorating ties between New Delhi and Male with the latter even returning two search-and-rescue helicopters that India had gifted it in 2016 as part of a defence action plan signed that year.
The Maldives government has also stopped issuing work permits to Indians employed there and delayed projects that are being handled by India.
Pakistan said it was also ready to help the Maldives though Indian officials were finding it difficult to understand how a financially weak Pakistan could help the island-nation and also when Stelco's major projects were being handled by Chinese companies, the Times of India report said.
In February, Male declined New Delhi's invitation to take part in a biennial naval exercise, citing domestic 'emergency situation'. At the same time, it was seen allowing the Chinese play a bigger role on its soil while pushing India out - a tendency which was strongly criticised by the island-nation's opposition voices.
The political relation between India and Maldives deteriorated over the latter's Abdulla Yameen government's excesses against which the former had objected.
In early 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Maldives was cancelled as India's stern response to the arrest and manhandling of former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed, known to pro-India.
According to experts, this step by India harmed its interests in the Maldives and allowed Yameen, who did not heed to India's advice for a reconciliation, to grow stronger and invite China and now Pakistan to his diplomatic rescue.