China to gain most from GMR’s Male woes
“The directions are very clear. It seems we don’t follow assertive foreign policy. Bit by bit China is entering Maldives and India is being pushed out. In fact, the Chinese embassy is coming up at a location close to where the Indian embassy is located,” said Anand Kumar, an associate fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
According to Kumar, “With Indian company like GMR being pushed out, it is an indication that the relations between the two countries are deteriorating.”
In September 2012, India increased its security relations with the Maldives when defence minister AK Antony announced that India would train Maldivian air force and navy personnel and extend by two years the deployment in the Maldives of an Indian helicopter squadron. Also announced was the stationing of defence staff in the Maldivian embassy in New Delhi, assistance for Male with the surveillance of its exclusive economic zone and an economic support package worth a further $500 million.
China has been consistently expanding its own interests in island nations on India’s periphery – the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Seychelles and Mauritius – all countries in where India has traditionally been the main strategic provider. Beijing has provided those countries with several millions of dollars in aid and infrastructure projects. The perceived threat to India’s influence in the region and, potentially, its security, has led to increased aid to these countries from New Delhi. That is especially so in the Maldives, which sits on an important sea line of communication