This video shows you that India scaling up defence diplomacy in extended neighbourhood.
Keeping regional security in mind, India has scaled up its defence cooperation with its extended neighbourhood in the last three years under New Delhi’s Neighbourhood First, Act East and Look West policies. Informed sources here said there has been an emphasis on defence exports with ‘Made in India’ products being a priority area.In the Maldives, where political turmoil took much of last year, the Indian establishment is now seeing the situation as getting stable as the Indian Ocean archipelago nation is critical for regional security from New Delhi’s perspective.
The year 2018 started off on a wrong note in the neighbourhood with then Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen, seen to have been distancing himself from India and leaning towards China, imposing a state of emergency in February.
Yameen’s move was in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling that ordered the release of nine opposition leaders, including former President Mohammed Nasheed.
Pro-India Nasheed, who was in exile at that time, requested New Delhi to send an envoy, “backed by its military”, to secure the release of judges and political detainees, including former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Though the Indian Army did not set its boots on the Indian Ocean archipelago nation, New Delhi kept calling for restoration of all democratic institutions there.
The crisis came to an end in September when Ibrahim Mohammed Solih, put up as the joint opposition candidate, defeated Yameen in the presidential election.
After India signed a bilateral action plan with the Maldives in 2016, the country’s defence minister is set to visit India later this week.
According to the sources, India now has a number of coastal surveillance radar systems (CSRS) in the Maldives.
With Bangladesh too, defence diplomacy is on the upswing after Manohar Parrikar became the first ever Indian Defence Minister to visit the eastern neighbour.
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