President Mohamed Nasheed has pledged that the Maldives will never do anything that threatens India’s security, reports India’s Economic Times, following concern from the Indian security establishment about the Maldives’ relationship with China.
“I trust democracy far more than any other system,” the ET reported Nasheed as saying, at the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) currently being held in Australia.
The Maldives “will always be India’s friend”, Nasheed reportedly said, adding: “I trust democracy far more than any other system.”
The ET reported that “There has been some concern in the Indian security establishment over what is seen as a Chinese attempt in the recent past to extend its influence in the 1,190-island nation that is strategically located along major sea lanes of the Indian Ocean.
“India’s security establishment has been viewing with concern China’s bid to expand its role in the Indian Ocean by building maritime links with countries such as Seychelles, Mauritius, the Maldives and Sri Lanka so as to protect its energy imports.
“India has also been augmenting its defence ties with countries like the Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles. Its navy has, in fact, been helping the Maldives with maritime patrol. It is also helping the country set up a network of radars.”