As Maldives continues to face political crisis, five Chinese naval ships sailed into the eastern Indian Ocean to join six other vessels, a Chinese news portal reported today, days after the former Maldivian president Muhamad Nasheed appealed to India to intervene militarily to resolve the political crisis in the island nation.
The Chinese naval ships included an amphibious landing vessel, the report in mil.news.sina.com.cn said.
China has been proactively opposing any foreign intervention in Maldives since President Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoom, regarded as close to China, had clamped emergency early this month and arrested Supreme court judges and the opposition leaders.
The Maldives' Parliament today extended the state of emergency by another 30 days, approving President Yameen's recommendation.
The state of emergency will now end on March 22.
Nasheed, who is currently on exile in Sri Lanka, had said India should send an envoy, backed by its military, to release the judges and leaders of political parties detained by Yameen.
About 10 days ago, the Chinese navy's "zhanlan 2018A" expedition team crossed the strait in Indonesia, and five main warships sailed into the eastern Indian Ocean, the microblog report said.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy already has three naval vessels in the three main areas of the eastern, southern and western Indian Ocean. China at present has 11 surface warships in the region, it said.
The warships included destroyers, a missile frigates and other major warships, an amphibious dock landing ship, and a comprehensive supply ship.
“Overall, the Chinese navy is sending out an amphibious convoy fleet with strong regional air defence, anti-ship and anti-submarine capabilities and the ability to deliver rather large-scale amphibious troops quickly”, it said.
While reporting about the the presence of the Chinese naval ships, the report also highlighted the turbulent political situation in Maldives since early this month.
Just around the time the Chinese navy's "zhanlan 2018A" fleet has been training in the eastern Indian Ocean for a week or so, the Chinese Foreign Ministry asserted that Beijing is opposed to any foreign intervention in the picturesque island located close to India.
Last week, The Global Times, a part of the ruling Communist Party of China’s publications, came out with an editorial saying that “India must stop intervening in Male”.
“Political struggles are supposed to be internal affairs, and New Delhi has no justification to intervene in Male's affairs. The Maldives must be under huge pressure from India” it said.
“The Maldives' sovereignty should be respected. The political unrest should be left to the Maldivian people to address. We urge all sides in the country to exercise restraint and end the crisis at the minimum cost, striking the correct balance between legal and governmental authority”, it had said.
(With PTI inputs)