India-Maldives relations have been simmering while Male has been leaning towards China. China-Maldives relations have been on an upward trajectory and the Maldives har emerged as a hub for Chinese investment under the Belt and Road Initiative. On Thursday night a China-built bridge was inaugurated in Male amid great zest and elated celebrations.
This bridge built by China is being hailed as the infrastructure project of the century in the Maldives. This project is a remarkable feat for the highly ambitious One Belt One Road initiative of China. The bridge was largely built and sponsored by China and on Thursday it commenced operations. The officials from both the nations have pledged to further deepen their bilateral ties and cooperation. The officials also plan to set up a prime example for the world as to how the nations of different sizes and stature must extend respect towards each other.
A grand inauguration ceremony was organised and people turned up in large number to witness the sparking scenes. The local residents who gathered in a park near the bridge described it as a dream coming true. People hailed the opening of a bridge as a dawn of a new era in the Maldives.
President Yameen extended gratitude towards China and also to the people of China. Twice in his speech he thanked the Chinese President and his gesture drew applause from the Chinese officials present in the Maldives then.
India has been a traditional ally of the Maldives and has for decades provided military and humanitarian aid to Male. But in the changing dynamics of international equations, the Maldives is now happier to keep India out while China is being handed over the major construction projects in the country.
The Maldives has been a strategic partner for India given Delhi’s security concerns in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives had recently asked India to withdraw its helicopters from the island which India has not done yet. India shares concerns over the One Belt One Road initiative of China, besides the security in the Indian Ocean and hence India, must step up its efforts before its too late.
Through its Belt and Road Initiative, China aims to revive the traditional Silk Route to expand its outreach to the European markets. China’s OBOR is a challenge to India’s act east policy.