Maldives a challenge, says Navy chief

May 24, 2018 01:03 am | Updated 07:04 pm IST - New Delhi

Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Wednesday termed Maldives a “challenge” as the island nation grew closer to China during its domestic political crisis over the last few months.

“Maldives is a challenge at the moment. The present government is inclined towards China,” said Admiral Lanba while speaking at the Vivekananda International Foundation on the Navy’s changing role in the current security environment.

On February 5, 2018, the current President of Maldives, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom Yameen declared emergency after refusing the Supreme Court order to release some political prisoners which plunged the country into a political crisis. While former Maldivian President Mohammed Nasheed repeatedly called India to intervene militarily, President Yemeen grew closer to China which caused discomfort in New Delhi.

Talking of the Quad consisting of India, Australia, Japan and the U.S., Admiral Lanba ruled out any military angle to it.

“We are not going down the route,” he stated.

He cautioned that India is the only country among the Quad which has a land border with China and questioned if anyone would come to assist in case of a conflict.

Admiral Lanba also acknowledged the rapid progress made by China in advancing its aircraft carrier programme.

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