New Delhi to expand ties with Indian Ocean nations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forthcoming visit to four Indian Ocean nations may see New Delhi expanding its existing maritime cooperation framework with Sri Lanka and the Maldives to include Mauritius and Seychelles.

New Delhi’s move is apparently intended to checkmate China’s growing strategic footprints in the Indian Ocean region.

Modi is likely to visit Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Seychelles and the Maldives in the second week of March. However, a visit to the Maldives now appears to be a bit uncertain in the wake of volatile political situation in the island nation following arrest of former president Mohamed Nasheed.

While India’s bilateral ties with all the countries are expected to get a fillip, New Delhi is also keen to rope in Mauritius and Seychelles in the trilateral maritime cooperation framework it already agreed upon with Sri Lanka and the Maldives in 2013.

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