The Maldives Situation

By The Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

Maldives, which is mostly known as a honeymoon destination & especially popular among Indians is in news for reasons not so friendly towards India or Indians. Now if a tiny island, which call itself a nation, which depends on us for a lot of things ranging from governmental support, security, economic ties and god knows what, out of nowhere starts threatening us and the sizeable Indian community that calls that island home, should we just stand aside as mute spectator or take decisive measure to correct the course?

I think we should give Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom a deadline to set things straight in his country, restore democracy, release the abducted judges and guarantee safety of opposition figures, but should he fail to do so, we should be prepared to repeat 1988 again. Let’s try for a peaceful solution but just in case things go south, be ready to swing some fists too. Last time we saved a Gayoom, this time we should remove one. Gayoom’s pocket is overflowing with Chinese money, money that he had raked in selling his country’s assets to Beijing, and with this new money and new friends Gayoom thought he could get away by spitting at us. This dictatorial attitude didn’t appeared overnight; it was a gradual, deliberate process of testing the waters and then going for the grab. Gayoom must have thought of protection from Beijing and that whatever steps he may take, it will be okay till he is in the good books of the lords of CPC. Further more, in order to bolster his religious credentials he gave an open field to Islamic radicals, pushing his country towards extremism and jeopardizing the security of the region. Maldives has a sizeable contribution in the number of foreign fighters fighting and dying for ISIS and a foreign policy more skewered towards countries like Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia.

Now amid all these things against us, there are a lot of sane people both in and out of Maldive that want to see democracy restored. Back home, the calls for restrain from liberals, left and people who always cite UN conventions to deter every policy are hell bent on dissuading the PM from acting, which I doubt would work, we should shape our response in a way that Malé and Beijing understands. Though, Beijing is publicly calling for restraint but it knows it’s a stare down after Doklam. Our government’s approach is the rightful one but I think topping it off with a naval blockade or flying jets over the Maldivian capital will soften them up. Military action should be taken if we are convinced that situation has reached a point of no return. We should also be mindful of the fact that we are on our own if we intervene, though our aim should be to take along our friends but for our foreign interests, we are on our own. Let’s send the message home to Gayoom and everyone, don’t mess with India in its own backyard.

 

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