India should not interfere in the affairs of the Maldives, Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times said in an editorial published on Tuesday. It claimed India has a “strong desire to control South Asian countries” and considered the region its “backyard”.
“For a long time, the Maldives has had to choose between being manipulated by India and its independence as a sovereign state,” the Global Times editorial said. “The Maldives must be under huge pressure from India.”
“New Delhi is particularly sensitive to any endeavour by small South Asian states toward independence and autonomy, especially ties with other major powers,” it read. “New Delhi takes it for granted that it can openly intervene in their domestic affairs.”
On Monday, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Gayoom declared a 15-day state of emergency on Monday after defying a Supreme Court directive to release political prisoners. Hours later, security forces stormed into the court premises and arrested two judges, including the chief justice. On Tuesday night, the Supreme Court revoked its order to free the political prisoners, “in light of the concerns raised by the president”.
The Global Times editorial was published even as former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed urged India to send its envoy to Male and involve its troops to help release the arrested Supreme Court judges. Nasheed was the first democratically-elected leader of the island nation who was forced into exile in Sri Lanka after a government crackdown.
On Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry opposed any such military intervention in the Maldives, saying such a move would further complicate the situation, PTI reported.
Without mentioning India, ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said: “We hope relevant parties in the Maldives can properly resolve the issue through consultation and restore national stability and social order as soon as possible. We believe they have the wisdom and capability to address the situation independently.”