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India's course rejected: Maldives moves closer to China

India's course rejected: Maldives moves closer to China

India course cancelled

The party of pro-China President Mohamed Mwizo won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in the Maldives. As announced by the Electoral Commission, citing preliminary counting results, Moiso's People's National Congress party won more than two-thirds of the 93 seats in parliament on Sunday. The president's pro-China foreign policy has been vindicated. This brings the country closer to Beijing, but at the same time represents a final rejection of the long-standing pro-India course.

This has defined national policy for years. The pro-India Maldivian Democratic Party previously enjoyed a comfortable majority in popular representation, but according to preliminary results, it has now suffered a clear defeat in only about 15 seats out of a total of 93 seats. On the other hand, voters supported the president’s move towards closer economic and military relations with China.

According to preliminary numbers issued by the Electoral Commission, the pro-China Palestinian National Council has about 70 seats out of the 93 seats that will be contested. This is a notable increase, as the presidential party only had eight seats in the outgoing parliament. In this way, the PNC gained power in Parliament in one fell swoop. This may have already been established a week before the expected final election results.


Maldives President Moizo with Xi Jinping during a state visit to Beijing in January

Withdrawal of Indian soldiers

The new political path began last year: In September, pro-China President Moiso defeated India-friendly former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih with his “Quit India” campaign formula and promised to end the presence of about 75 Indian military personnel in the country. Island state.

In March, India began withdrawing its soldiers. These were previously stationed in the Maldives to patrol the country's long maritime borders. They were deployed with two aircraft and were also responsible for sea rescue. Mwizo had accused his predecessor of endangering national sovereignty by giving India too much influence.

Election posters in the Maldives

APA/AFP/Mohamed Afrah

The Maldives elections were a directional decision between India and China

“Military assistance” agreement with China

During the election campaign, Moizu awarded high-dollar infrastructure expansion contracts to Chinese state-owned companies. His government also concluded a “military support” agreement with China. Beijing has long been the Maldives' most important lender.

In 2013, the Maldives joined China's New Silk Road initiative, which aims to build ports and highways to expand trade – and China's influence – in Asia, Africa and Europe. India is watching the expansion of Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean with suspicion. The election result is now a clear sign of rejection.

Strategically important location

The Muslim-dominated South Asian island nation's new parliament is scheduled to meet for the first time at the beginning of May. The Maldives is located in an important strategic location in the Indian Ocean. International trade routes lead directly through more than a thousand atolls. The country is a popular luxury travel destination for tourists from all over the world due to its white sandy beaches.

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