maldives president election
INDIA CHINA GEOPOLITAL COMPETITION
Maldives President Election
In the recently held presidential election 2023 Mohamed Muizzu, a pro-china candidate defeated the India-friendly incumbent, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih(2018-23), ON an ‘India Out’ campaign.
MALDIVES KEY POINTS
- Maldives is home to around 540,000 people, roughly the same amount of residents as Manchester. However, only around 200 out of the 1,200 islands in the archipelago are inhabited.
- 2. Maldives are merely eight feet above sea level at their highest natural point, which is lower than every other country on the planet. The 1,200 islands are on average around seven feet above sea level. The archipelago is protected from monsoon season swells by a natural barrier of coral reefs.
- The population of Maldives is entirely composed of Maldivian ethnic group, which is the result of various migrants settling in the islands successively through the country’s history. The first settlers, it is generally believed, were Tamil and Sinhalese peoples from southern Indiaand Sri Lanka. Traders from Arab countries, Malaya, Madagascar, Indonesia, and Chinavisited the islands through the centuries.
- The official language of Maldives is an Indo-European language called Dhivehi (or Maldivian); Arabic, Hindi, and English are also spoken. Islamis the state religion.
Reasons why Maldives is important for India
- Strategically located beside key shipping lines it has importance in terms of security to india, china & japan in particular & whole south & east asia in general.
- Since china started sending naval ships in Indian ocean to protect its economic interests, it wants to use docking facilities in sri lanka & maldives but if used for spying can be dangerous.
- Maldives political parties are divided along pro-india and pro-china lines, china’s massive economic presence & possible debt trap can create difficulties for india as happened in sri lanka. Abdulla Yameen, leader of the People's National Congress, a pro-China leader, dragged Maldives into China's debt trap diplomacy as part of Belt and Road Initiative during his presidency from 2013 to 2018, signing several high-cost infrastructure projects in lieu of huge debts amounting to around $1.4 billion. This included an $800 million deal for developing the main international airport of the island chain in Male, which was awarded to Chinese company Beijing Urban Construction Group over a more deserving Indian company.
- Indian presence amounts to around 25,000 people, thereby having a stake in the well being of this small island nation.
- Maldives is a member of SAARC.
- Recent increase in Islamic radicalization is an increased security threat, it was recently reported that ARCHIPELAGO accounted for one of the largest number of foreign fighters in Syria for ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), also known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).