Maldives will benefit if it avoids ‘meaningless git’ from India, says Chinese media
Beijing, Dec 4: India felt assured after Maldives saw a change of guard with Abdulla Yameen, perceived to be a pro-China president, losing the election in September this year. The development was welcomed by Indian experts as something that suited New Delhi for the small island nation in the Indian Ocean was increasingly tilting in favour of China under the rule of Yameen who also defied India openly.
Although China had said in the wake of Yameen's loss that it was Maldives internal affairs, a recent report in its Global Times news website expressed its concerned stand on India's revived relationship with Maldives under the new president, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who took oath last month at an event which was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to the report, India's plans to provide loans to Maldives to help the latter pay off its debts to China was "nothing more than an old trick" and it would only see India turning out to be a new creditor for the archipelago.
"India is considering offering the Maldives up to $1 billion in loans to help it repay its debts to China, on condition that the island nation agrees to distance itself from China, the Nikkei Asian Review said in a report on Wednesday, citing unidentified Indian government sources," the Global Times report said.
It also cited the source as saying that "India is in talks with the Maldives, offering low-interest loans over several installments in exchange for stronger security ties, including the permanent deployment of Indian military personnel in the island nation".
The Global Times report criticised India saying while it was not surprising to see India to "cook up some scheme to increase its influence in the Maldives", it was trying to misrepresent China's efforts to improve the infrastructure in nations and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative route, including Maldives, instead of giving Male a genuine helping hand.
It said while China's investment, advanced technologies and management skills could see countries like Maldives develop their own economies, India's plan will only see it picking sides and land up in the lap of a new creditor eyeing influence in the Indian Ocean Region.
"It's easy to see that taking new loans to pay off old ones yields no real benefits, especially considering that even this meaningless gift comes with the condition of cutting links with China," the report added.