Amid strained ties between India and Maldives over imposition of emergency in the island nation, the Maldives has declined New Delhi’s invitation to participate in a biennial naval exercise next month.
This further fuels speculations that Maldives may have further gone into embrace of China.
It need be mentioned that India has geared up to host navies from 16 countries including Maldives.
The Naval exercise has been christened as ‘Milan’, an eight-day event.
But now the island nation has declined the invitation and it was confirmed by the Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba.
The mega naval exercise in Andaman and Nicobar Islands starts March 6 and aims to expand regional cooperation and combat unlawful activities in critical sea lanes. Australia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand and Oman are among the countries that have confirmed their participation in the joint activity.
New Delhi had earlier termed it disturbing development and tried to persuade the tiny island nation to restore democracy.
In a strongly-worded statement, the Maldives Foreign Ministry asked friends and partners including India to refrain from any actions that could hinder resolving the situation facing the country.>
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