Maritime Silk Road Current Affairs - 2020
Prime Minister Modi was conferred with Maldives’ highest honour- ‘Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen‘ in Male, (Maldives capital) during his two-day state visit to the island country.
The prestigious award of Most Honourable Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen is Maldive’s highest honour accorded to foreign dignitaries.
- Background: Maldives is a valued partner of India with whom it shares deep bonds of history and culture. In February 2018, relations between India and Maldives deteriorated after the then President Abdulla Yameen took certain decisions which did not go down well with New Delhi such as imposing emergency, impositing restrictions on work visas for Indians and signing of a new Free Trade Agreement with Beijing. However, ties were restored under the incumbent Solih’s presidency.
- Recent Visit to Maldives:
- Although PM Modi visited Maldives in November 2018 to attend President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih‘s swearing-in, but the current visit is the first by an Indian prime minister at a bilateral level in past eight years.
- The two-day state visit undertaken by PM Modi was aimed at further cementing ties with Indian Ocean archipelago.
- Two countries held delegation-level talks as well as signed a slew of agreements to strengthen bilateral ties in a number of key areas including defence.
- India’s concern: China views Maldives as key to its Maritime Silk Road (MSR) project in Indian Ocean Region (IOR) for which China has already acquired Hambantota port in Sri Lanka and Djibouti in Horn of Africa. Thus to keep check on China’s ambitious expansion in IOR, India needs to continue its good relations and partnership with its neighboring countries having strategic importance in IOR.
Tags: Free Trade Agreement • Hambantota port • India-Maldives • Indian Ocean Region • Maldives' highest honour
China has successfully developed new underwater surveillance network to help its submarines get stronger lock on targets while protecting nation’s interests along maritime Silk Road, which also includes Indian Ocean. The project is part of unprecedented military expansion fuelled by China’s desire to challenge United States in world’s oceans.
Underwater surveillance network
The network is underwater surveillance system based on network of platforms — buoys, satellites, surface vessels and underwater gliders — that gather data from Western Pacific, South China Sea and Indian Oceans. The system works by gathering information about underwater environment, particularly water temperature and salinity, which navy can then use to more accurately track target vessels as well as improve navigation and positioning. The new surveillance system will enable Chinese submarines to steer a much safer course through difficult waters as well as improving their targeting ability.