NEW DELHI: Even as exiled opposition leader and former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed reiterated his appeal for New Delhi to intervene militarily to restore order in the troubled country, China warned that “New Delhi has no justification to intervene in Malé’s affairs”.
After his earlier request seeking India’s help was met with a stoic “we are watching the developments” response by India’s ministry of external affairs, Nasheed on Wednesday tweeted that, “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.”
The Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, ran an editorial on Wednesday titled “India must stop intervening in Malé.”
Asserting that “for a long time, the Maldives has had to choose between being manipulated by India or its independence as a sovereign state,” the editorial claimed that, “India has a strong desire to control South Asian countries. New Delhi is particularly sensitive to any endeavour by small South Asian states toward independence and autonomy, especially ties with other major powers. Political struggles are supposed to be internal affairs, and New Delhi has no justification to intervene in Malé’s affairs. The Maldives must be under huge pressure from India,” it said.
A senior Indian diplomat too urged caution, saying that “an external power attempting to force a regime change could have dangerous, unexpected consequences. One just needs to look at American intervention in various parts of the world to understand the dangers involved. Many might argue that we did not hesitate to act in the Maldives earlier, but times have changed. As for Sri Lanka and more recently, Nepal, look where it got us.”
New Delhi, he said, was taking the right step by “exercising due diligence and not indulging in some ham-handed muscular military action.”
In the Maldives, meanwhile, the foreign ministry appealed to the international community to note that normal life remained unaffected despite the political turmoil, and invited observers to visit and assess the situation.