Trouble in paradise as China, India jostle over Maldives

The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, which is being built at a frenetic pace and largely funded by China, will link the capital Male to Hulhule. It is said that the bridge will declare, in no uncertain terms, that Beijing is whisking the Maldives aw
The China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, which is being built at a frenetic pace and largely funded by China, will link the capital Male to Hulhule. It is said that the bridge will declare, in no uncertain terms, that Beijing is whisking the Maldives away from what has traditionally been India's sphere of influence.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Region commands choke point for world trade, increasingly seen by Beijing as 'must enter' area

The Maldives has long been a stark pin-up poster for climate change, quite simply because it will be the first nation on earth to go under if the warming seas continue to rise. As it is turning out, this idyllic nation of turquoise lagoons and silver beaches may also give off the first signs of geopolitical overheating.

Used to having the waves and the winds sculpt their palm-fringed islands, the Maldivians are now witnessing an ongoing tussle for influence between China and India reshape their nation.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 11, 2018, with the headline 'Trouble in paradise as China, India jostle over Maldives'. Print Edition | Subscribe