China and India’s Engagement with the Maldives: “Rich Imperialism” vs “Poor Imperialism”

On 24 January this year, the Chinese Vice-Premier Li Guozhong made a brief transit halt in the Maldives. During the stopover, he met with the Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer. The Vice-Premier was on his way back after attending the Non-Aligned Summit and the third South Summit in Uganda from 19-24 January.

This came after President Muizzu’s State visit to China for five days and his assurance that the Maldives will sign the Free Trade Agreement with Beijing. Far more interesting than the official visits from China, is a Chinese language document posted on the social media platform Battle Intelligence titled “China has set stage for investment in South Asia: The 60-year layout of ‘poor Imperialism’ to be resolved”, on 18 January 2024.

It has two assertions, first that India’s time in the Maldives is out and China is now ready to invest in that country. And second, that this sets the stage for China to get back into South Asia, by ensuring that they have a monopoly over politics and economy. By implication, China wants all South Asian countries to pursue an India Out campaign! They have already made a start in Bangladesh.

The document states that according to Maldivian President Mohammad Muizzu who had just concluded his visit to China, China is now really looking towards South Asia and it is time for the “poor imperialism” to be resolved.

The phrase used in very Chinese and probably hints at India’s efforts to assist the Maldives with military training and equipment. The document notes that on his return from China, President Muizzu issued an ultimatum that the contingent of Indian military personnel that provides support to the Maldivian Defence Force should be withdrawn within two months, i.e., by 15 March.

The document carried by the social media site Battle Intelligence is based on the premise …read more

Source:: Colombo Gazette