Maldives Declines India's Invitation For 16-Nation Naval Exercise

Maldives Declines India's Invitation For 16-Nation Naval Exercise

Maldives has declined India's invitation to take part in the 16-nation naval exercises.

The Maldives' rejection of the Indian invite, without assigning an official reason, is easily the biggest snub by the Indian Ocean archipelago since the Yameen Abdul Gayoom government went into turmoil from February 1.

Lanba told reporters on the sidelines of the event that Maldives has not given any reason for the decision.

According to NDTV, the Maldives' decision is the latest blow in an already strained relationship between India and the island nation, which recently extended a state of emergency in its country by 30 days. "During such a time especially, security personnel are expected to be at a heightened stance of readiness", Ahmed Mohamed said in a statement.

"The Embassy would like to clarify that the Maldives is unable to participate in the naval exercise during this time due to the current circumstances of a State of Emergency being in effect for those under investigation for serious crimes".

After last week's warning by Maldives to India against any kind of "misadventure" or "interference" in the ongoing political crises in the country that could further exacerbate the already fragile situation, the republic of Maldives on Sunday rejected India's invitation to participate in the biennial naval exercise Milan, which starts March 6, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba reportedly said on Tuesday.

Читайте также: U.S. urges India, Pak to hold talks

This week, Indian naval officials provided more details regarding the 2018 iteration of the MILAN naval exercises, which the Indian Navy will host at Port Blair from March 6 to 13.

The subtext of the exercise has been in pursuance of New Delhi's belief that it is a "net security provider" in the region, a description also used by the US.

"We are aware of the Chinese activities in Indian Ocean region". "India is also anxious over China's influence on the Indian Ocean nation", the official added.

"This clearly is a signal of deterioration of Indian influence and result of aggressive diplomacy pursued by China in the Indian Ocean region".

"Our political leadership lead by President M Sirisena and Prime Minister (R Wickremesinghe) clearly stated the government won't enter into military alliance with any country for making our bases available to foreign countries", he added. The move also comes at a time when Maldivian president Abdulla Yameen is seen to be taking his country closer to China in return for infrastructure loans under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

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