India Pips China in Maldives, As Male Scraps Beijing’s ‘Military’ Proposal

A China-Maldives pact to build an observatory in the Maldives is likely to be abandoned, as India’s relations with Male has drastically improved with the departure of former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen.

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Government sources in the Maldives told Times of India that the pact that Abdulla Yameen administration signed with Beijing in 2017, raised security concerns in New Delhi. Titled ‘Protocol on Establishment of Joint Ocean Observation Station’, the agreement was meant to enable China to build an observatory at Makunudhoo.

The deal had set off concerns in India that it would hand Beijing a massive advantage in the Indian Ocean from where many merchant and other ships pass. It would also be located disturbingly close to Indian waters.

The then foreign secretary and current foreign Minister – S Jaishankar brought-up the concern with Maldivian envoy Ahmed Mohamed. The envoy explained that China was only looking to build a meteorological ocean observation centre.