India’s options on Maldivian imbroglio

The best bet for India seems to send a diplomatic envoy on behalf of the UN

India ’s options on Maldivian imbroglio
India ’s options on Maldivian imbroglio

India finds herself once again dragged into the Maldivian crisis exactly after 30 years

The Maldives plunged into political crisis last week with the Supreme court of Maldives annulling the arrests of several key opposition leaders including ex-President Nasheed who was jailed by President Yameen to quell dissent and assume absolute power trampling democratic rule. President Yameen rejecting the Supreme court’s verdict blockaded the court and arrested the chief justice and other judges by declaring a state of emergency. The remaining three judges were forced to nullify their own order. This autocratic decision by Yameen came under heavy criticism by the International community including the United Nations. However, President Yameen looks unperturbed and is actively courting China to keep-off any intervention from India. A stable democratic setup looks bleak with Yameen at the helm and opposition led by erstwhile President Nasheed marginalised day by day.


Ex-President Nasheed made a fervent appeal to India for a military intervention, helping release the arrested judges, political opponents and restore order.

However, if one reads between the lines; Nasheed is indirectly requesting India to overthrow the Yameen regime and help reinstate him back to the presidency. Nasheed is backing himself as a democratic leader and clearly has the backing of US, UN, India and other western powers; whereas Yameen has covert support of China; which seeks to make the Maldives another Djibouti and Gwadar.

India finds herself once again dragged into the Maldivian crisis exactly after 30 years when then Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi successfully executed Operation Cactus ; wherein he sent troops to save President Gayoom’s regime from the hands of foreign mercenaries.

So what factors have changed from 1988 to 2018:

  1. China was not a factor in 1988, but in 2018 it is the elephant in the room with major geopolitical stakes in the south Asian region.
  2. In 1988, the request for intervention came from the ruler President Gayoom to help save the Maldives from armed militias, but 2018 is an internal power struggle between a democratically elected leader Nasheed and the current ruling dictator Yameen.
  3. It is currently an internal political crisis unlike a humanitarian one back in 1988.
  4. Indian presence and influence in the Maldives have steadily increased over the last three decades.

Here’s a SWOT analysis from an Indian perspective of the various options available at India’s disposal.





India doesn’t intervene. Status quo is maintained. India acts militarily India leads a diplomatic mission on behalf of the international community China sends troops to reinforce Yameen  in order to pre-empt an Indian Military action.
Strengths India’s traditional role of non-intervention and respecting sovereignty gets bostered.


No cost; wait and watch approach.

India seen as a regional military powerhouse who doesn’t shy from fighting for democracy.


President Nasheed will be back in power effectively having a India-friendly govt. In Maldives.

Soft approach having no major backlash from responsible powers.


Can further India’s image as a responsible power who can resolve crises through dialogues.

India can approach UN and other powers and create more pressure on China
Weaknesses ●      India would not be taken seriously as a net regional security provider.

Any further increase in violence against opposition by Yameen would be blamed on India’s non-engaging role leading to a fallout with Nasheed.

Polarisation in Maldives and further Islamisation.


Can be chastised at home and abroad for impinging on the sovereignty of another nation.

Can be seen as a weakness on India’s part.


Can drag the political chaos into a long drawn crisis leading to Yameen assuming more power.

India would be forced to intervene broadening the zone of crisis to the entire Indian subcontinent.


Would result in a Indo-Chinese proxy war ultimately not solving the Maldivian problem

Opportunities Provides window for internal political reconciliation in Maldives Decisive move to nullify any further Chinese inroads.


Sends a clear warning signal to Pakistan and China that India would not shy to act decisively and militarily to protect its interests.

Can bolster India’s soft power image and save military operational costs for India.


Can press on Yameen to conduct free and fair presidential elections monitored by the UN.

China’s image takes severe beating and would be regarded as an interventionist and irresponsible power. India’s stand on Chinese border issues may get global support.
Threats Democracy gets crushed in Maldives and Yameen is emboldened to crush opposition further.


China makes deep inroads effectively ending India’s influence in Maldives altogether.

India would be seen an occupying force if crisis gets dragged.


Can complicate situations dramatically if China chooses to intervene making it a Indo-Chinese faceoff.

Can be long drawn process with no end in sight.


Provides Yameen to strengthen his position ultimately stamping his authority.

Destabilise the entire region and turn Maldives into another Iraq.


Can inspire other dictators of smaller nations to play off big regional players against each other.

Likelihood of occurrence High Low Very High Very Low
Effectiveness to restore democracy in Maldives Low High Medium Very Low
Favorability for India Low Very High High Very Low


Considering these limited options, the best bet for India seems to send a diplomatic envoy on behalf of the UN with the following objectives:

  1. Free President Nasheed, judges and other political opponents.
  2. Discontinue state of emergency.
  3. Step down and conduct UN-monitored free and fair presidential polls to elect the next leader democratically.

Perhaps, it may very well be Operation Cactus 2.0 minus the thorns!

1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Software Engineer by profession. Interested in social startups which could bring in Hindu Vedic renaissance. Founder of Hunger Free India ( Passion is to blog & read on Life, Political current affairs and Hinduism.
Ashwath Kannan


  1. Be it Gayoom or Nasheed or Yameen it makes no difference. They are all the same. It is out & out Islamic.

    When Nasheed was the ruler I recall Maldives cancelled some contract with an Indian company.Maldives said ” Indian company asked for huge bribes..corrupt…’.

    In comments section many naive Indians screamed ” we shall send our Army beware…we only bailed you out earlier…blah blah…” To which Maldivian Muslims responded by replying ” Send your Army..we shall eat them alive”. This was when nasheed allegedly seeking India’s help was the ruler.

  2. India should not hasten to rush into Maldives. Coups have always been the norm in most Islamic
    countries- Libya , Maldives , Bangladesh etc. Hence it would be sagacious to mutter ”Insha Allah” & stay

    As it is Indian Army has been under perennial stress fighting Pakistan & its supporters WITHIN. With both hands tied behind their backs.

    What about rohingya muslim terrorists & their supporters within -the owaisi , javed akthars who have long spread all over India including Andhra Pradesh , West Bengal & Jammu & Kashmir ? All these are being heavily mollycoddled by secular India. Journos & politicians seldom stand in the line of fire to perish.

    By sending IPKF into Sri Lanka it is Indian Army that suffered heavy casualties.

    Before Partition when the british had not left muslims under the leadership of mujibur rehman massacred lots of Hindus -men , women & children destroying their properties with the connivance of british. Rapes included.

    mk.gandhi the muslim appeaser as usual blackmailed Hindus with his fasting charade into succumbing to violent blood thirsty muslims.

    It was ONE Man HINDU Sri.Gopal Mukhopadhyaya who mobilized Hindus overnight into retaliating by taking up arms against the muslims. But for Sri.Gopal Mukherjee Hindus would have ceased to exist in what is Paschim Bengal today.

    All these vital facts were totally eclipsed by secular charlatans of India . No wonder they rushed in Indian Army to ”protect” terrorist mujibur rehman who had become leader of bangladesh. Eventually retribution did catch up with him as he was bayoneted by bangladeshi Army.

    Indira Khan ( not gandhi) of congress took many quick decisions but all WRONG ones that have not benefitted Hindus in any way. It has only wrought HAVOC within.

    Henry Kissinger DID give the right advice to arrogant Indira Khan NOT to interfere when civil war broke out between Pakistanis & bengali muslims . Had India listened to Kissinger the civil war would have wrought total ruin of both economically too.

    “” Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread”. Hence idiotic indian establishment ever appeasing mehbooba muftis , farookh abdullahs & owaisis WITHIN should take a hard look at itself first.

    If THAT itching to help Maldives send all the stone pelting BORN violent muslims of Kashmir to Maldives.
    Along with rohingya muslims . CERTAINLY NOT Indian Army.

    India has not won any war so to speak. Even with Pakistanis & Bangladeshis steadily massacring Hindus within bjp is zealously issuing visas to many pakistanis & bangladeshis ( afghanis etc etc) calling it medical tourism to undergo various surgeries . Lots of COWS , Goats etc do get slaughtered to cater to their palates. In addition plenty of Cows , Calves , Buffaloes continue to get smuggled to bangladesh by secular india. This is no democracy to start with.

    Instead make one more bollywood movie with akshay kumars etc. Victory on celluloid is what we are capable of.


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