Maldives has rejected India’s invitation for a joint Naval exercise to begin on March 6. The move is seen as Male’s apparent attempt to snub New Delhi, which has remained critical of ruling government’s decision to declare Emergency in the island nation. The news of Maldives’ rejection of the India’s invite was communicated to media by Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba. “Maldives was invited to join the Milan exercise but they have declined,” Lanba told reporters. Here are top 10 things to know:
– India had invited Maldives to participate in the eight-day-long mega naval exercise — Milan — beginning March 6.
– Maldives denied India’s offer without specifying any reason. However, it is being seen as an apparent snub to New Delhi, as the latter has remained critical of the emergency situation.
– Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba hinted that the Maldives may have taken the decision possibly due to the current situation in the country, PTI reported.
– Admiral Lanba was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event.
– There has been a tension in ties between India and Maldives after Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen declared an Emergency on February 5.
– India issued a strong reaction over the extension of the Emergency by a month.
– About Indian navy’s Milan: New Delhi will host navies from at least 16 countries. The event will be held in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
– The multi-nation exercise was held first in 1995 with the participation of five navies. It is aimed at confidence building and to discuss common concerns in the Indian Ocean Region.
– The exercise comes at a time when China’s growing military posturing in the Indo-Pacific region has become a common cause of concern for many nations. The issue is likely to be taken up by officials during deliberations at the event.
– Also, China’s South China Sea may be discussed among the navy chiefs of the participating countries at the event.
– Meanwhile in the same press conference, an official said that deployment of ships by China’s Navy has been there since 2008. At any point of time, there are 6-8 ships in the region, he added, saying that there movement is being monitored. He also added that there is no cause for concern and it is standard deployment in the Indian Ocean.