Should India take military action for the current situation in Maldives like it did in Operation Cactus?


Any International intervention in any other country has to be thought thousand of times before military action.

It is indeed correct that President Abdulla Yameen of the Maldives has shown little regard for the world community’s calls to roll back the emergency he imposed last week to cling on to power.

There are more than reasons and logic for the Maldivian “Governement’ to have taken this step.

The “China factor” seems to be a key tactical and strategic factor at a time when his opponents have been urging India to step in, militarily if required, to restore the democratic set-up. On the other hand, China has repeatedly warned against any outside intervention (euphemistically referring to India) and described the political crisis as an internal affair. However, China modify its stance later somewhat by saying it is in the “common interest” of India and China to maintain stability in the Maldives — an acknowledgement of India’s influence in the region and its ability to call shots.

The opposition is in no position to challenge Mr Yameen and it is natural for leaders such as former president Mohamed Nasheed to turn to traditional ally, India to call for Military intervention. President Nasheed will be good for India considering what Yameen did to many projects of India in Maldives.

China has obvious interests in Maldives

  1. It has poured millions of dollars into the Maldives, but there is a growing realisation that its presence isn’t benign.
  2. It wants Maldives to provide it a base for its String of Pearls Policy.

India did go for military intervention in the Maldives in 1988 (OPERATION CACTUS). But the situations are different. Thirty years ago, India had intervened to stop a coup by mercenaries, and restored President Gayoom’s Governement in a swift action. But this situation is different. Here Mr Yameen pitted against other Maldivian politicians, not against any mercenery. Therefore, a military operation may not be the ideal way to resolve the crisis and also ensure that democracy.

President Nasheed did write an article in Indian newspaper, In Indian Express on 7th February urging India for a military action in the same manner. Now there are some voices suggesting India hasn’t done enough till now.

However, It would be better for India not to act in haste. Things have started moving in New Delhi, as was evident when Mr Yameen’s special envoy was informed he needn’t bother coming to India till the Maldivian president has addressed the world community’s concerns about the undermining of democratic institutions and the judiciary.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump, in their latest phone conversation, made a pointed reference to concerns about the crisis. As it stands now, the Maldives crisis could be very good opportunity for India, the US and other players to use the much-vaunted Indo-Pacific strategy to find a solution to a regional problem. That will take care of strategic interests without compromising on tactical losses. (Hindustan Times, 12th Feb)

Source-The Times of India, Hindustan Times

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