02/21/2018, 11.16
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State of emergency scuppers tourism, Chinese and Indian warships nearby

The Parliament extended the measure for another 30 days. Tour operators cancel hotel and flight reservations. The crisis is part of the regional power struggle between Beijing and Delhi.

Malè (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Hundreds of hotel bookings and air flights have been cancelled in the Maldives due to the political earthquake that led the government to declare a state of emergency.

Declared as a result of the constitutional crisis two weeks ago, the measure will remain in force for 30 days. Meanwhile Indian and Chinese warships have arrived in the waters of the Indian Ocean. Officially, both governments say they want to guarantee the safety of the inhabitants of the island. In reality, experts point out how the deployment of ships to maintain the respective spheres of influence on the archipelago, which is located on the trade routes of the new Chinese "Silk Road".

Yesterday, the Maldivian Parliament approved an extension of the state of emergency, wanted by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom as a necessary measure against the threat to national security caused by the current constitutional crisis. In the meantime, the tourism sector, which generates an annual turnover of around 2.2 billion euros, is in serious difficulty.

The situation precipitated at the beginning of February, when the Supreme Court judges unanimously established the release of opponents belonging to the Maldivian Democratic Party (Mdp) and the reopening of the trials against them. Furthermore, the sentence defined the trial that led Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected president in 2008, to condemnation of terrorism as "unconstitutional". The latter, after the unexpected verdict, was preparing to return to the capital and compete in the presidential elections scheduled for the end of the year.

At least 11 Chinese ships reportedly entered the Indian Ocean and then were recalled to the South China Sea. New Delhi is also patroling the area with eight boats. The current crisis is part of the struggle between India and China to establish spheres of influence in the region. The current president Yameen is considered close to the positions of Beijing, with which he has signed agreements for the "Belt and Road Initiative". On the contrary, his predecessor Nasheed gravitates around the orbit of Delhi and recently accused China of "seizure of land" for the construction of its trade routes to Europe.

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