India’s scheme to grant loans to the Maldives to assit the country to repay its debts to China is nothing but an old trick that will lead to India becoming a new creditor of the Maldives. This allegation was was stated by Chinese media outlet the Global Times.
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India will be granting the Maldives up to $1 billion in loans to help it repay its debts to China, on condition that the island nation agrees to distance itself from China, the Nikkei Asian Review said in a report on Wednesday, citing unidentified Indian government sources.
The sources revealed that “India is negotiating with the Maldives, extending low-interest loans over several installments in exchange for sturdier defence treaty, including the permanent deployment of Indian military personnel in the country.”
It is not surprising that India, which has long regarded the Indian Ocean as its own backyard, would cook up some story to re-build its influence in the Maldives. But instead of giving the island nation a genuine helping hand, what India really endevours is to misrepresent China’s efforts, the report noted.
With Chinese investment as well as cutting-edge technology and management skills, the Maldives can get on the fast track to develop their own economies. India’s purpose, judging by the Nikkei Asian Review report, is to force the Maldives to pick sides i.e. India or China. This will subject the island nation to a new creditor that simply wants to maintain its dominance in the Indian Ocean.
It’s easy to see that taking new loans to pay off old ones yields no real benefits, especially considering that even this meaningless gift comes with the condition of cutting links with China.
Such a zero-sum ideology essentially runs in the opposite direction from a future of growing interconnectedness. It is hoped that both India and the Maldives can open their minds and embrace the China-proposed BRI and the irreversible trend of joining hands in advancing the global economy.