Is China Creating Regional Imbalance in the Indian Sub-continent?

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  • Maldives recently signed a Foreign Trade Agreement (FTA) with Beijing without making the contents of the FTA public.
  • The signing of this agreement between China and Maldives is another sign of Beijing’s success in its outreach in south Asian Region.
  • India expressed concerns about China’s growing influence in the Strategic Indian Ocean.
  • India has warned Maldives and Shri Lanka as China is trying to tighten grip over these smaller countries.
  • China had already signed FTA’s with Pakistan, Shri Lanka and Nepal.
  • The opposition in Maldives complained that they were not notified about the FTA.
  • Former Maldivian President and opposition leader, Mohamed Nasheed also criticized the signing of agreement and said that it was not only against the Maldivian national interest but it would also disturb the traditional allies of the country by causing tension in the Indian ocean Region.
  • The former President called the agreement as detrimental to the economy of Maldives as balance of trances is in greatly in China’s favor.
  • The agreement is not in the benefit of the people of the Maldives.
  • Shri Lanka also joined hands with China and decided to handover Hambantota Port to China on a 99 year lease.
  • The expeditious signing of these trade pact only signifies that the two countries are hoping to reach the top of economic cooperation.
  • But it is significant to note that the economic cooperation between China and Maldives is creating regional imbalance in the Indian subcontinents.
  • India is expecting from Maldives and Shri Lanka that while signing FTA’s or other agreements with China they must keep in mind the Regional Security concerns.
  • India has also expressed apprehensions that the FTA could push the Maldives into debt trap in the same way as to Shri Lanka.

China grabbed Shri Lankan Hambantota Port to use it to station its military equipment after Shri Lanka failed to pay heavy interest bearing loan owed to China.

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