India, China and Pakistan: rivalry for the Maldives and Kashmir

India and China compete for the small but strategically important Maldives, offering infrastructure investments and financial resources. China needs a military presence in the Arabian Sea to secure access to oil from the Persian Gulf. India considers the Maldives as its sphere of influence in the Indian Ocean and wants to ensure that the Maldives do not become friends with China. However, they have just signed an agreement on “military assistance” with the Maldives, and by the will of the Maldivians, Indian soldiers are to leave the archipelago. At the same time, the Indian Navy intends to build a base on Minicoy, the southernmost island of the Lakshadives archipelago, which lies approximately 130 km north of the Maldives.

Indian authorities detained a shipment of equipment from China intended for Pakistan that, according to them, could help develop Pakistan’s nuclear and ballistic missile program. The payload is to contain advanced computer numerical machines. Pakistan criticized India’s actions, adding that the cargo was intended only for commercial purposes. Tensions between these countries are primarily focused on the border region of Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just made his first official visit to Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir since India stripped the disputed region of its semi-autonomy in 2019 and took direct control over it. Muslims primarily inhabit the territory, and many of them strongly support independence or merger with Pakistan.

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