After Pact With China That Upset India, Maldives Seeks To Mend Ties

DoThe Best
By DoThe Best January 11, 2018 17:31

After Pact With China That Upset India, Maldives Seeks To Mend Ties

After Pact With China That Upset India, Maldives Seeks To Mend Ties

A month after Maldives signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, a move that did not quite go down well with India, its foreign minister Mohamed Asim met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj In New Delhi today.

“Both had productive discussions to strengthen bilateral relationship keeping in mind ‘India first’ policy of Maldives and our policy of ‘Neighbourhood first’,” Raveesh Kumar, Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, tweeted.

Mr Asim is on a three-day visit to India in what is being seen as a move to mend bilateral ties that have been under strain since Male rushed through the agreement, much to the shock of India. The Ministry of External Affairs that had then said Maldives should be sensitive to India’s concerns and keep in mind its “India First” policy. Mr Asim is scheduled to meet PM Modi later today.

As per the agreement, Maldives’ first such deal with any country, signed during the visit of President Abdulla Yameen to China last month, China won’t impose any taxes on fisheries imports from the island nation, and Maldives will not levy tax on goods imported from China.

Male has sent Mr Asim as a ”special envoy” which may just mean he could invite PM Modi for a visit long overdue. In 2015, PM Modi had turned down a visit after the island nation faced political unrest. A few months ago, India also invited former Maldivian president Mohammed Nasheed, who has been sentenced to jail for 13 years in a terrorism case, and is now living in self-imposed exile in the United Kindom. India’s move had upset the Yameen govt.

Strategically, India has had good ties with Maldives that is located in the Indian Ocean region where China is trying hard to expand its footprint, something India is wary of.

DoThe Best
By DoThe Best January 11, 2018 17:31
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