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Page added on November 16, 2011

China/India Cold War warming up in the Maldives: Reuters

On the pristine equatorial shores of the Maldives, an archipelago best known for luxurious resort hideaways swathed in coral reefs and cerulean seas, India and China’s regional cold war is warming up, writes Bryson Hull for Reuters.

“Stretched across 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq m) of the Indian Ocean southwest of India, the Sunni Muslim nation of 1,192 islands finds itself sandwiched between the two Asian rivals, and both flexed their muscles at a meeting of South Asian nations hosted by the Maldives last week.

China preceded the heads-of-state meeting of the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) by opening its first embassy in the Maldives, a ceremony attended by Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun.

Two Maldivian officials said China had hurriedly rented a space to open the embassy in time for the summit, while the actual embassy is being built. Officials with the Chinese delegation declined repeated requests by Reuters for comment.

“The bureaucrat in me says the timing is right. You want to open something like that when there is a big official around. But opening it right before SAARC is a way to tweak India,” an Asian diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

India’s response to China’s diplomatic display included a show of military force and political largesse.

Navy frigates patrolled off the Gan atoll, where the summit was held, to protect VIP visitors including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a one-day state visit to the capital island, Male.

“This is our extended neighborhood. We wish to work with the Maldives and other like-minded countries to ensure peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region,” Singh told the Maldivian parliament.

India extended a $100 million credit line, inked pacts on maritime and counterterrorism cooperation, and both nations agreed “their respective territories would not be allowed for any activity inimical to the other and by any quarter.”

New Delhi has long been concerned by any moves China makes to boost its presence in neighboring countries, and is worried about the so-called “string of pearls” ambition to expand Chinese maritime influence in the Indian Ocean and beyond.

China made its present felt throughout the SAARC summit. The post-summit giveaway bag included porcelain pens and diaries from the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry detailing “Five Years of China-SAARC Cooperation.” A box for a new 40-inch TV in the media center bore a sticker: “China Aid.”

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Comments are closed.


  • MissIndia NewDelhi: This is good news and will open up exciting new job opportunities for Maldivian maids, farmers, tailors and barbers. Now quotas need to be removed...
  • sheep: Everyone calm down, Kashim is a troll! haha! There’s not one person living in Maldives who supports sharia, madrasas, etc. that’s capable of writing...
  • Hero's more educated brother: Hey hero, my brother. Sorry you got 0.000001% (you voted for yourself) of the votes. Next time, don’t yell filth at the Maldivian...
  • Maldivian: I may have dropped out from grade 8, but even I know what a plimsoll line is and how to read it. When can we get some proper education for our maritime...
  • Maldivian: @maumoon: Nah, he’ll take a flight to singapore for botox treatments when he gets sick. :P
  • Maldivian: I remember this. Back in the maumoon era, they’d murder people in prison, then claim they had escaped to avoid responsibility. A dirty trick, but many...
  • Maldivian: Now you see why they fought so hard to free their get-out-of-jail free card back in december 2011? Criminals facing justice always panic.
  • maumoon: The true depth of this Hero guy is very obvious,isnt it.Pray that you do not get sick,for whcih you have to go to India

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