India to 'educate, advise' Maldives on China ties

India has devised a ‘three-pronged’ approach to deal with China’s growing presence in South Asia that will entail educating and advising the region including the Maldives, according to media reports.

The broad new approach includes track Beijing’s activities carefully; pursue its own projects and commitments; and educate and advise neighbours on the consequences of engaging with China.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj laid out this approach at a meeting with top diplomats posted in the neighbourhood last Tuesday on the sidelines of the Head of the Missions Conference, India's 'Hindustan Times' reported.

Indian diplomats from across the region were said to be at the sit-down, including Akhilesh Mishra who is posted in the Maldives.

"In the Maldives, according to the first and second officials, the presentation focused on how there was a conscious attempt by the regime in Male to erase the Indian footprint altogether and China had gained tremendous leverage with investments, already made or in progress, in an airport, bridge, islands and port," the media report said quoting officials familiar with the annual meeting.

Bilateral ties between the two countries had soured after Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdulla Gayoom in February declared state of emergency following an order by the country’s Supreme Court to release a group of opposition leaders convicted in widely criticised trials.

Recently Maldives' chief government lawmaker Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik was denied entry into Chennai while Maldives has reportedly put a squeeze on issuing work permits for Indian expatriates working in the island nation.