With an aim to keep diplomatic ties with China on the right track, India has informed Beijing that it won’t interfere in the ongoing crisis in Maldives. However, New Delhi has also asked Beijing not to cross “lines of legitimacy” and respect India’s measure of “strategic trust”, The Indian Express reported. Officials said that the days when India believed that South Asia was its primary sphere of influence and that it could prevent other powers, such as China, from expanding its own clout are long gone, according to IE report.
The official said that India cannot claim sole proprietorship of the region. “We can’t stop what the Chinese are doing, whether in the Maldives or in Nepal, but we can tell them about our sensitivities, our lines of legitimacy. If they cross it, the violation of this strategic trust will be upon Beijing,” the official was quoted as saying by IE.
New Delhi’s stance, especially after Doklam standoff, shows that it does not want to irk the Dragon even as it asserts its importance in the region. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit China in the coming weeks. The change of stance also comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting last June.
It has been learnt that US and the European Union have backed India’s decision “not to militarily intervene” in Maldives. This comes days ahead of Nepal Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli’s visit to India. Oli in recent times has spoken tough against New Delhi and his overture towards Beijing has raised questions. The India tour will be Oli’s maiden one to New Delhi.