Beyond tourism

Why the Maldives is so important to both India and China

by Kathy Xu

The Maldives is known for being a major tourist destination but political tensions in the geographically dispersed state has been growing in recent years as different presidents in power align themselves with different superpowers. What is the Maldives’ geographical importance to superpowers like China and India?

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Where is the Maldives?

Male island, Maldives
Credits: Shahee Ilyas [CC BY-SA 3.0]

China’s relationship with the Maldives

Maldives 6th president, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom
Credits: By Prime Minister's Office (GODL-India), GODL-India, (left) and Maldives current president, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
Credits: By Suzu - Private collection, Public Domain, (right) 

Yameen and corruption in the Maldives

Sinamale Friendship Bridge Credits: By Panda 51 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Oil exploration and possible extraction

Successive presidents of the Maldives including Mohamed Nasheed, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, and Ibrahim Mohamed Solih

Climate change vulnerabilities and land reclamation
Power struggles—the legacy of previous presidencies

Indian PM Narendra Modi and Maldives president, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih
Credits: By Prime Minister's Office (GODL-India), GODL-India

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Disclaimer: Our stories have been researched and fact-checked to the best of our abilities. Should you spot mistakes, inaccuracies, or have queries about our sources, please drop us an e-mail at
Infographics / Joceline Kuswanto
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