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Maldives must tread carefully as it seeks to rebalance ties with China, India, analysts say

2018-09-26 09:38:47       source:The South China Morning Post

September 25, 2018

China is “bracing for the worst” after the Maldives voted to oust Beijing-friendly President Abdulla Yameen, analysts said on Monday, while warning that the island nation should tread carefully as it seeks a new balance in its relations with China and India.

Although the Maldives – an archipelago of 26 ring-shaped atolls in the Indian Ocean – has traditionally maintained strong ties to New Delhi, Yameen cultivated a close relationship with Beijing during his five years in office.

China sees the Maldives as a key location along the route of its “Belt and Road Initiative”, which aims to develop a network of trade links across Asia and into Africa and Europe. But as a result of the infrastructure development plans signed by the two countries during Yameen’s tenure, the tiny nation is now US$1.3 billion in debt to China, a figure that represents more than a quarter of its gross domestic product, according to Reuters.

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