How Beijing’s Secret Strategies Shaped the Maldives Nation’s Destiny ! Mohamed Muizzu Secures Victory

In a closely-watched electoral showdown, Mohamed Muizzu has emerged victorious in the Maldives’ presidential election, defeating incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in a second-round run-off. This election was not only a litmus test for the Maldives’ evolving democracy but also a pivotal moment in shaping its foreign policy, with implications for the strategic interests of both China and India in this Indian Ocean archipelago.

Muizzu, aged 45, leads a political party that has welcomed significant financial support from China and implemented a comprehensive crackdown on dissent during its previous stint in power.

Solih graciously conceded defeat shortly before midnight, as the Elections Commission of the Maldives declared that Muizzu had garnered 54.06 percent of the run-off vote.

Solih expressed his congratulations to President-elect Mohamed Muizzu on social media and commended the Maldivian electorate for their democratic participation.

Solih, aged 61, will continue to serve as the caretaker president until the inauguration of his successor on November 17.

Mohamed Muizzu’s remarkable ascent began during the initial round of voting on September 8, where he secured 46 percent of the votes, while Solih, plagued by a low voter turnout and internal divisions within his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), garnered 39 percent.

The outcome of this election bears significant implications for the Maldives’ foreign policy, particularly in the context of China and India’s ongoing struggle for influence in this strategically-positioned nation.

Mohamed Shareef, a senior figure in Mohamed Muizzu’s Progressive Party of Maldives, hailed the election result as a reflection of the Maldivian people’s patriotism and called on neighboring countries and bilateral partners to respect the nation’s independence and sovereignty.

Mohamed Muizzu, currently serving as the mayor of the capital city Male, urged his supporters not to celebrate prematurely, as campaign restrictions remained in place until Sunday morning.

Mohamed Muizzu, a former housing minister, played a pivotal role in a previous government’s development initiatives, which received substantial funding from China’s Belt and Road infrastructure program. He has emphasized his commitment to strengthening ties between the Maldives and China.

Furthermore, Mohamed Muizzu’s victory may have repercussions for former President Abdulla Yameen, his mentor, who was imprisoned for corruption and money laundering following his ousting in 2018. Yameen’s supporters argue that the charges against him are politically motivated.

Transparency Maldives reported isolated incidents of “electoral violence” without providing further details. Voter turnout was relatively high, with 85 percent of the eligible 282,000 voters participating, slightly surpassing the first-round vote.

The election was colored by allegations from Mohamed Muizzu that Solih had allowed unchecked Indian presence in the Maldives. Solih, in response, asserted that India’s military presence was limited to building a dockyard under a bilateral agreement, with no infringement on Maldivian sovereignty.

Mohamed Muizzu pledged that, if elected president, he would relocate Indian troops from the Maldives and rebalance trade relations, which he claimed were tilted in India’s favor.

Ahmed Shaheed, a former Maldivian foreign minister, opined that the election outcome reflected concerns about the government’s inability to meet economic and governance expectations rather than anxieties over Indian influence.

Solih faced a setback ahead of the election when former President Mohamed Nasheed, a charismatic figure, departed from Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to field his own candidate in the initial round and decided to remain neutral in the run-off.

Yameen, leader of the People’s National Congress, had aligned the Maldives with China’s Belt and Road Initiative during his presidency from 2013 to 2018, aiming to expand trade routes and enhance China’s global influence.

Despite these developments, it is improbable that Mohamed Muizzu will drastically shift the Maldives’ foreign policy away from its important ties with India. Instead, opposition to Chinese projects may ease, resulting in a more balanced approach to foreign relations in the region, according to Shaheed.

The Growing Influence of the Chinese Camp in the Maldives


The Maldives, an idyllic Indian Ocean archipelago known for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters, has become the battleground for an intensifying geopolitical struggle for influence between China and India. In recent years, China’s presence in the Maldives has expanded significantly, raising questions about the long-term implications for the island nation’s political, economic, and strategic landscape.

China’s Strategic Interest in the Maldives

China’s interest in the Maldives extends beyond its breathtaking scenery. The strategic location of the Maldives, with its proximity to vital sea routes and access to the Indian Ocean, makes it an attractive prospect for Beijing. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aimed at developing infrastructure and expanding trade routes globally, has found a foothold in the Maldives, contributing to Beijing’s growing influence.

Infrastructure Investment
One of the most visible signs of China’s influence in the Maldives is its substantial investment in infrastructure projects. Chinese companies have been involved in the construction of critical projects, including the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge, connecting the capital Male to the airport island of Hulhule. These investments have enhanced connectivity within the Maldives and are positioned to facilitate greater economic integration with China.

Economic Ties
China’s economic presence in the Maldives has expanded through loans and investments. The Maldives’ government has welcomed Chinese financial support for various sectors, such as tourism and fisheries. However, concerns have been raised about the potential debt trap, with the Maldives accumulating significant debts to China, leading to concerns over its long-term economic sustainability.

Geopolitical Influence
China’s growing footprint in the Maldives has geopolitical implications. The Indian Ocean is a crucial maritime region, and any significant influence by a foreign power in the Maldives could potentially alter the strategic balance in the area. India, which has traditionally regarded the Maldives as within its sphere of influence, views China’s increasing presence with apprehension.

Challenges and Concerns

While China’s investments and influence in the Maldives have brought about certain benefits, they have also raised several concerns:

Debt Burden: The Maldives’ growing debt to China has raised questions about its ability to repay loans, potentially leading to the loss of strategic assets or compromising its sovereignty.

Environmental Impact: Large-scale infrastructure projects, such as land reclamation and construction, have raised environmental concerns, including damage to coral reefs and fragile ecosystems.

Political Influence: Chinese investments and support have led to a more pro-China political climate in the Maldives, potentially undermining its democratic institutions and creating tensions with other nations, particularly India.

Security Concerns: The Maldives’ increased cooperation with China in security matters has raised concerns about how this could impact regional security dynamics, especially considering India’s interests in the region.


China’s growing influence in the Maldives is a multifaceted issue with implications for the island nation’s future. While Chinese investments have spurred economic growth and development, they have also led to increased debt and raised questions about the Maldives’ ability to maintain its sovereignty. As the Maldives navigates its complex relationship with China, it faces challenges in maintaining a balance between economic development and preserving its strategic and political independence. The international community, particularly neighboring countries like India, will continue to monitor these developments closely, recognizing the importance of the Maldives in the evolving dynamics of the Indian Ocean region.

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