Indians, not MDP, should be demanding Maldives intervention: Firstpost

If India continues its nervous fence-sitting, Waheed will do a Rajapakse and China will quickly expand its toe-hold in the island(s), writes G Pramod Kumar for India’s Firstpost publication.

In fact, India had lost considerable ground by not openly backing Nasheed at the time of the coup. India could have sent his army – just as the way it sent its forces to rescue Gayyoom when he was under attack by mercenaries in the 1980s- and protected Nasheed.

His supporters in fact wanted India to prevent his ouster, but the regional super power exposed its weakness by refusing to intervene. Now, here is the second chance for it to reclaim lost ground and redeem its super-power image.

What’s wrong in protecting our strategic interests in our own backyard? The interests of a 1.2 billion people democracy and a US$ 1.8 trillion dollar economy?

In fact, it should be Indians, not the MDP, that should demand that India play a decisive role in Maldives. It’s in our interest.

It’s not Bangladesh, Bhutan or Afghanistan that we should have controlling stakes in. We should have complete control of the Indian Ocean for our people and our interests to be safe because that is where China and Pakistan is expanding.

A decade ago, the Himal magazine published from Kathmandu had found an innovative perspective for south Asia to escape the air of Indo-Pakistan strife that dominated the region – to look at it upside down where the Indian ocean and the southern parts of India dominated the map. But today, even our part of the Indian ocean seems to be going out of our grip. India is hemmed in from all sides by just two countries – China and Pakistan!

Supporting authoritarian regimes in the region – both in Maldives and Sri Lanka – will be seriously detrimental to our interest. We cannot talk foreign policy with (their) rogue alliances smirking right on our face.

Maldives is not just about Nasheed, it is also about India, its people and its history.

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