Smart Mal­dives

Southasia - - Briefing -

In a re­cently signed agree­ment, Chi­nese soft­ware firm Huawei Tech­nolo­gies has agreed to pro­vide IT in­fra­struc­ture sup­port to the Mal­dives. The mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing was signed be­tween Huawei Tech­nolo­gies ( Lanka) Co. Ltd, and the Na­tional Cen­ter for In­for­ma­tion Tech­nolo­gies, Mal­dives. The agree­ment en­tails the devel­op­ment of the IT In­fra­struc­ture in the is­land na­tion un­der the ‘Smart Mal­dives Project.’ The Mal­dives views this part­ner­ship a sig­nif­i­cant step in its quest to be­come an in­de­pen­dent and a pro­gres­sive coun­try.

China has also ex­pressed its in­ter­est in pro­vid­ing the Mal­dives with loans to sup­port the project. The grow­ing as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween China and the Mal­dives rings alarm bells for In­dia, since a pos­si­ble China-Mal­dives re­la­tion­ship will af­fect In­dia’s hege­mony in the re­gion. In­dia fears a se­cu­rity breach since the equip­ment used for in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment in the Mal­dives could have bugs and may pos­si­bly in­ter­cept any com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween In­dia, China and the Mal­dives.

Although the project will pro­vide the Mal­dives with state-of-the-art com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy, it is ex­pected that China would ex­er­cise its in­flu­ence over the Mal­dives to uti­lize the lat­ter’s IT net­work for its own ad­van­tage. In­dia’s con­cerns over China-Mal­di­vian ties are largely fu­elled by jeal­ousy. In­dia is still reel­ing from the in­vest­ment shock fol­low­ing the Mal­dives’ de­ci­sion to oust the former from con­struct­ing the Male air­port.

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