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Maldives President-Elect Pledges to Remove Indian Military from Archipelago

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Maldives President-Elect Vows to Remove Indian Military from Archipelago

The president-elect of the Maldives, Mohamed Muiz, has reaffirmed his commitment to remove Indian military personnel stationed in the archipelago state. During a celebration of his election victory, Muiz stated that he would initiate the process of removing the foreign military presence, emphasizing that it goes against the will of the Maldivian citizens. This move is seen as a blow to India in its geopolitical rivalry with China in the Indian Ocean region, as the Maldives' presidential runoff election was viewed as a referendum on the influence of regional powers in the archipelago.

A Contested Issue

Outgoing President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who was elected in 2018, faced allegations from Muiz that he allowed India an unchecked presence in the country. Muiz's party, the People's National Congress, is known for its pro-China stance. The main campaign theme of Muiz's party was centered around the alleged threat to Maldives' sovereignty posed by certain Indian military personnel on an island, aligning with their "India out" strategy.

China's Belt and Road Initiative

During his presidency from 2013 to 2018, former President Abdulla Yameen, also a member of the People's National Congress, made the Maldives a part of China's Belt and Road initiative. This initiative aims to expand trade routes and increase China's influence across Asia, Africa, and Europe through infrastructure projects. Yameen has been transferred from prison to house arrest, fulfilling one of Muiz's campaign promises even before officially assuming office on November 17th.
The decision to remove Indian military personnel from the Maldives raises questions about the future geopolitical landscape in the Indian Ocean region. It remains to be seen how this move will impact the relationship between the Maldives, India, and China, as well as the overall power dynamics in the region. The archipelago's strategic location along major shipping routes adds further significance to the developments in the Maldives.

Hot Take: Impact of Maldives' Political Shift on New Businesses

The recent decision by Maldives' president-elect, Mohamed Muiz, to remove Indian military personnel from the archipelago could have far-reaching implications for new businesses, particularly those with interests in the Indian Ocean region. This move, seen as a blow to India and a win for China, could signal a shift in regional power dynamics, affecting trade, investment, and geopolitical stability.

Geopolitical Considerations

New businesses, especially those in sectors such as shipping, tourism, and infrastructure, need to consider the potential impacts of this geopolitical shift. The Maldives' strategic location along major shipping routes could become even more significant if China, through its Belt and Road initiative, increases its influence in the region. This could lead to changes in trade routes, shipping costs, and regional alliances.

Investment Climate

The political shift could also affect the investment climate in the Maldives. If the "India out" strategy leads to a more pro-China stance, this could attract more Chinese investment, potentially benefiting businesses aligned with Chinese interests. However, it could also lead to a decrease in Indian investment, affecting businesses with strong ties to India.
In conclusion, while the exact impacts of this political shift remain uncertain, it's clear that new businesses need to closely monitor these developments. Understanding the changing geopolitical landscape will be key to navigating potential risks and opportunities in the region.
Story First Published at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/maldives-president-elect-says-hes-committed-to-removing-the-indian-military-from-the-archipelago
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