SHANGHAI (PPA) — A senior Chinese expert on South Asia affairs has warned that India’s continued quest for interference in neighbor country’s internal affairs have caused political crisis in Maldives.
Writing in Global Times on February 9, 2018, Chen Xizhong, a member with the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies suggested that India was trying to maintain its grip over all regional states including Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka or Afghanistan.
Global Times report added that “political crisis in Maldives has been precipitated by India’s interference in its neighbor’s internal affairs.”
Cheng Xizhong said that “India deems South Asia as its sphere of influence and becomes concerned when neighboring countries draw closer to other states”.
“India intervenes in its neighbors diplomatically and militarily…In 1971, it initiated the third Indo-Pakistani war as a result of which East Pakistan disintegrated and became an independent country, Bangladesh”, Global Times report recalled.
The report also added that “in 1975, India turned the Kingdom of Sikkim into its province through a referendum on abolishing the monarchy.
The report also reminded that in 1987 India sent troops to Sri Lanka while in 1988 it send troops to Maldives and in 1975, India turned the Kingdom of Sikkim into its province through a referendum on abolishing the monarchy.
The Global Times report quoted Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat as saying “to deal with China’s influence, countries such as Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Afghanistan have to be kept on board, and I think we have to put in wholehearted effort to ensure we continue to support them.”
The report also added that India maintains its grip over Bhutan’s foreign policy and defense affairs. Bhutan’s foreign policy still needs “advice” from India and an Indian military training team is permanently based in western Bhutan.
“New Delhi creates ‘brouhaha’ when smaller countries in South Asia get increasingly aware of their sovereignty and push back against India”. According to the Global Times “to protect their interests, these countries try to get rid of India’s control and develop strong relations with China and other countries outside the region.”
The report also maintains that lately, India had come to believe that its hegemony in South Asia has been immensely challenged.
First, the Maldives government signed a free trade agreement with China and announced it will join the Belt and Road initiative. Second, Nepal started to use internet service provided by China, ending India’s decades-long monopoly. What’s more, Nepal has shown strong support for the development of a passage connecting China to South Asia.
“Radically different from India is China’s approach. Beijing advocates all countries, big and small, are equal…Beijing hopes South Asian countries can maintain their stability and independence and hopes to help them develop their economy and improve people’s livelihood jointly with New Delhi and this has been widely welcomed in the region”, Global Times report conclude. -PPA