Issue Brief on “Crisis in the Maldives: The Beginning of an Indo-Chinese Chess Match”

Maldives has been thrust into a major political crisis on February 2, after the Supreme Court in a surprise development ordered the government to release 12 members of the parliament who were stripped off their posts and held by the government under different charges.[1] This judgment pushed Maldives into a new political turmoil as the government of Abdulla Yameen refused to respect the court order and announced 15 days of state emergency. The Maldives Defense Force surrounded the Supreme Court and arrested the chief justice and another judge on charges of graft, while the three other judges party to this unanimous judgment declared the order null and void.[2]

While there was an international objection against the Yameen government and its dealing of judiciary and opposition politicians. The current government is more tilted towards China, thus it played the China card to repel pressure and seek help from China for the resolution of the current crisis. However, China called for political resolution of the crisis in Maldives through dialogue without external intervention. Conversely, the opposition leader and former president of Maldives tried to counter this move by making an appeal to India to intervene militarily to save democracy in Maldives, an option that is not on the table for New Delhi.[3]

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