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 between the West and East Asia.
However, experts now opine that this military relationship could be put on hold. With elections a little more than a year away, the future of the Maldives and the region is still uncertain. Given the confused nature in which the Maldivian transfer of power took place, India would benefit from an election held as soon as possible, say experts.