China is trying to whip up anti-India sentiments in the Indian Ocean island-nation.

India is learnt to have received “substantial inputs” on China planning to carry out more activities aimed at expanding its presence in the Maldives. “Apart from furthering its agenda of making much deeper inroads in the island nation, Beijing is also trying to whip up sentiments against India in the Maldives,” top diplomatic sources told The Daily Guardian.

According to sources, the Indian High Commission in Male has got credible information about the same. “Diplomats have been asked to keep a close eye on all this,” sources said. “With the anti-India elements getting more active after the release of former President Abdulla Yameen from house arrest in the Maldives, China is trying to fish in troubled waters so as to foment trouble for India,” says a diplomat.

Sources said that the “India Out” movement has been expanded since the release of Yameen from house arrest, paving the way for his return to politics. “There is no denying that the Chinese diplomats are fanning such anti-India sentiments using Beijing’s close ties with Yameen,” sources said. India through its diplomatic channel is said to be stepping up pressure on the current regime in Male to deal strictly with such elements, be they from the Maldives or from any other country (China). “Delhi has warned Male against Beijing’s belligerence that is clearly visible in the island nation,” says an official.

However, in what augurs well for the Indian diplomatic campaign, some political parties in the Maldives have opposed this campaign led by former President Abdulla Yameen after he was released. These opposition parties have said that Yameen was recklessly inciting hatred among the people

towards India in what vindicated Delhi’s stand on this matter.

Meanwhile, the Maldives government earlier issued a statement, saying that “it was profoundly concerned by attempts by a small group of individuals and a few political personalities to spread misguided and unsubstantiated information to propagate hatred towards India, one of the closest bilateral partners of the country”.

Indian diplomats said that the Maldives regime referred to Chinese elements as well when it said that certain individuals were involved in spreading “unsubstantiated” information to propagate hatred towards India. “Who is behind providing such information to the groups which have anti-India feelings there? It is no one else but China, which has been provoking some groups close to Yameen to run such an anti-India campaign intensely,” a diplomat argues. “The India Out campaign is mostly centred around unsubstantiated allegations that India is seeking to establish a military presence in the Maldives.”

It is common knowledge that ties between India and the Maldives, which is a strategically important island nation in the Indian Ocean, had hit a low during the tenure of Yameen, who has always been close to China. Sources say that top diplomats held a meeting recently to take stock of the developments in Male. India High Commission officials were asked to keep MEA posted on the developments in the Maldives in view of the release of Yameen and China flexing muscles all the more.