…..India sits up and complains about non-compliance with “diplomatic protocol.”
Recently when Philippines had the temerity to question the presence of Chinese fishermen near disputed islands, banana shipments were terminated and Chinese warships were dispatched. The People’s Liberation Army Daily made it clear that the sovereignty of Huangyan Island will be backed by superpower weapons “Not only the Chinese government will not agree, neither will the Chinese people, and the Chinese Army will disagree even more,” the editorial said.
India off course is not China. But it is reputed to have ambitions about a “blue water” navy that can counter Chinese domination of the Indian ocean. Thus it can’t afford to antagonize maritime neighbors such as….Maldives. When there was a islamist backed coup in February the whole world complained but India remained supportive. Now things have taken a (predictably) ugly turn.
The rally was organized by the “23rd December alliance” on Friday night to protest against the leasing of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport to Indian infrastructure major GMR by the government of former President Mohamed Nasheed.
“A diplomat’s (Indian high commissioner Dnyaneshwar Mulay) job is to work for his country and people and not to protect the interests of one private company…He is a traitor and enemy of Maldives and Maldivian people. We don’t want these kinds of diplomats on our soil.” (Abbas Adil) Riza, a political appointee, said.
In a statement, the Indian high commission said high commissioner Mulay has condemned the remarks of the spokesperson to President Waheed, asserting it was “against diplomatic protocol”.
Eventually a pro-forma apology was issued and everyone went home happy.
Superpower is really an attitude (backed by real capability). Even by India’s pitiful standards, it should not be too difficult to enforce a naval embargo on Maldives (and re-install Nasheed). But then we recall how badly bruised India was during the Sri Lankan peace-keeping campaign. The SL army finally had to take the assistance of Pakistan and China to wipe out the LTTE.
India should quit chasing “blue water” dreams and just make sure that the coast-guards are fully alert when Hafeez Sayeed’s boys come back for seconds, as Captain Khan has publicly warned (at this point it is important to recall Rahul Gandhi’s pathetic statement that 99% of terrorists are detained prior to detonation). That will surely be not too much to ask?