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‘U.S.-Maldives Defence Deal, Call To Bangladesh PM Send China A Message In Indian Ocean Region’

NEW DELHI: The defence agreement signed between U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Reed Werner and Maldivian Minister of Defense Mariya Didi on September 10 is “very significant and India couldn’t have asked for anything better,” says Vice Admiral Anup Singh (Retd), former Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command. Speaking to StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi, the ex-Deputy Chief of Naval Staff added that this framework security partnership with the Maldives and U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper’s call to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on September 11 has “one common thread, a message to China, which will spread all across the Indian Ocean Region.” Admiral Singh noted that “things have changed since 2013, including India’s mindset.” He was referring to India reportedly putting the brakes on a 2013 U.S. proposal for a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Maldives. China had “for all practical purposes leased an island in the Maldives, was reclaiming land and building dual use infrastructure, Admiral Singh pointed out, so the agreement dovetails with India’s military cooperation with the archipelago nation that includes joint Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance, installing coastal radars, institutionalised joint exercises and focus on the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

The ex-deputy head of the Integrated Defence Staff drew attention to “far too much alarming Chinese activity in Bangladesh, including the sale of two Chittagong based submarines and the strings attached.”

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China, Admiral Singh concluded, “will not have an easy ride in the Indian Ocean” despite its numeric naval advantage over the Indian Navy. “We do require numbers but because of our peninsular structure, the advantage of geography, unsustainably long Chinese supply and logistical distances, the strategic assets of the Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, radars in the Maldives and Seychelles and Beijing’s Achilles heel in the Malacca Strait, he says, India has the edge.”

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The 'Eye' of the story not the 'I' of the story. That's Amitabh Pashupati Revi's credo from the beginning of his professional journey in 1995. From conflicts in the war zones of Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq to nuances of international politics in the Maldives,Thailand, and South Sudan, Amitabh has reported from all the world's continents, except for Antarctica(so far). Though, he has documented the world's third pole, the Siachen Glacier!
Amitabh reports and produces documentaries on the two-front China-Pakistan threat to India. His ground reports from Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh have received viewership in the hundreds of thousands. Amitabh has interviewed world leaders, top global analysts, and experts in India, Russia, the United States, and Australia as well. Along the way, he’s picked up the Russian language, the Ramnath Goenka Award for his reporting on the 'Islamic State' terrorist group in Iraq, the Khaled Alkhateb Award for his reporting from Palmyra, Syria, and the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Distinguished Journalist Fellowship. Last but not least, as a founder member of StratNews Global, Amitabh helps lead the reporting, editorial, production, and administration teams at StratNews Global, BharatShakti, and InterStellar on their journey ahead.