India and China in diplomatic tussle over foreign ‘intervention’ in Maldives’ affairs

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Motivated by ‘strategic interests’, China says ‘other countries shouldn’t interfere in Maldives’

China on Tuesday hit back at former Maldivian president Mohammad Nasheed, dismissing his allegations that it had grabbed land in the Maldives as “groundless”.

It was the latest in a long line of statements Beijing has made regarding the ongoing political crisis in the Indian Ocean archipelago. Last week, China said other countries shouldn’t interfere in Maldives, and that the international community should “respect the sovereignty and independence” of the Maldives.

“China does not interfere in the Maldives’ internal affairs, which is also an important criterion of the rules of the United Nations charter,” Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said, adding that it supported the Maldives government.

“The international community should play a constructive role in promoting the Maldives’ stability and development on the basis of respecting the Maldives’ wishes,” Wang said.

This came two days after a similarly worded response to talks about a possible military intervention by India.

“We believe they (have) wisdom and capability to address the situation independently,” Wang said without directly mentioning India.

The Global Times, a part of the ruling Communist Party of China’s publications, came out with an editorial entitled ‘India must stop intervening in Male’.

“Political struggles are supposed to be internal affairs, and New Delhi has no justification to intervene in Male’s affairs. The Maldives must be under huge pressure from India,” it said. “The Maldives’ sovereignty should be respected. The political unrest should be left to the Maldivian people to address. We urge all sides in the country to exercise restraint and end the crisis at the minimum cost, striking the correct balance between legal and governmental authority,” it said.

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