Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 Nov 2018 13:08:30











THE rethink by Maldives’ new government over a Free Trade Agreement with China underlines the dangers of a debt trap laid by Mr. Xi Jinping through his Belt and Road Initiative. Maldives, now under President Mr. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, has realised the follies created by his predecessor Mr. Abdullah Yameen and decided to pull out of the deal. It is a prudent move by the tiny archipelago in the present circumstances where China is making aggressive efforts to influence island nations in the Indian Ocean region. The Chinese behemoth is using infrastructure projects and trade deals to gain control over smaller economies that fail to grasp the ramifications of entering such skewed agreements and end up in huge debts. This new development comes as a welcome relief for India. In the last few years, Male had increasingly tilted towards Beijing, leaving New Delhi in a huff. Now with a pro-India chief in Maldives, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has made the right moves to ensure a feeling of security and trust in the island nation. All it needs is a regular follow-up.




THE High Level Empowered Committee (HLEC), headed by Union Home Minister Mr, Rajnath Singh has taken a very critical decision to fast-track infrastructure development along the Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. The projects have great significance for border security because of threats from China. Although all seems to be quiet on the North-Eastern front as of now, the Chinese are quietly building up security preparedness in the region, necessitating India to take its own precautionary measures to ward off Dokalam-like misadventures. Road building is not easy in that region because of the mountainous terrain. It will be a great challenge for the planners and those undertaking the projects. But Indian engineers have proved equal to the task time and again. While time is of essence, demanding urgency in executing the projects, it is certain that the Central Government would not allow the road projects to get bogged down for want of resources because the task is critical for national security.