Chinese Observatory in Maldives Can be a Major Security Concern

The observatory will be located in Makunudhoo and will give China a vantage point at an important Indian Ocean route

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A Joint Observation Station that China is looking to build in the Maldives can prove to be another security threat for India as Maldives opposition is claiming that the observatory will have a military application including a provision for a submarine base as well, Sachin Parashar wrote in The Times of India on 26 February.

As per the report, the observatory will be located in Makunudhoo, in the north of the Maldives and will give China a vantage point at an important Indian Ocean route used by many merchant and other ships that is quite uncomfortably close to Indian waters.

TOI cited officials in India as confirming an official agreement of the same among China and Maldives called the Protocol on Establishment of Joint Ocean Observation Station and has been signed around the time both countries signed a free trade agreement last year. However, specifics of the agreement have to be checked before they could get any comment on the same.

An opposition leader in Maldives has even said that the said proposition could be a challenge for India that undercuts India’s Traditional ties with Maldives.

However, the Times of India report called this observatory similar to the one China announced for the South China Sea last year which was made with the objective of signifying Chinese control of the SCS waters.

The underwater ocean observation center in the South China Sea will be dual purpose, with civilian and military applications. China’s supposed plan to build such a center in the Maldives would effectively open a Chinese maritime front against India, in the same quiet way that China opened a Himalayan front against India in the 1950s.
Brahma Chellaney, Strategic affairs expert, as quoted by the Times of India

(With inputs from the Times of India)

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