Crisis in the Maldives - India's Options

23 February 2018
Crisis in the Maldives - India's Options
Curated commentary by CPR faculty

The recent state of emergency imposed by President Abdulla Yameen in the Maldives followed by an arbitrary political crackdown has led to calls from the Opposition in the country, led by former President Mohammed Nasheed, for Indian military intervention – harking back to a similar intervention by India in 1988. However, the domestic and geopolitical context today is very different, especially given Yameen’s closeness to China. In these circumstances, CPR faculty analyse the choices India has – in the curated commentary below:                                                                                                                                               

  • G Parthasarathy writes in The New Indian Express that ‘Yameen’s insensitivities to India’s security and economic concerns should be addressed imaginatively.’
  • ‘With China seeking to capitalise on its support’ for Yameen, the Maldivian crisis has become a ‘defining moment’ for India, writes Brahma Chellaney in Project Syndicate, suggesting that ‘India’s best option is to hold out a credible threat of military action’, while simultaneously imposing economic sanctions with other democratic powers. Chellaney further elaborates on these sanctions in another article in the Hindustan Times. 
  • In an interview with The Wire, Shyam Saran says that India should proceed cautiously unless China entrenches itself in the region, which is of strategic significance location wise. 
  • In a discussion on NDTV, Zorawar Daulet Singh says that the Maldivian crisis should be a moment for India to think through the role it wants to play in South Asia, while G Parthasarathy adds that even though India does not have the economic and military power to balance China, China’s own behaviour is helping India get partners.


The views shared belong to individual faculty and researchers and do not represent an institutional stance on the issue.