The Great Game: China and India's Battle for the Maldive

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PUBLISHED 04 September 2023

The tranquil turquoise waters of the Maldives, known for their idyllic beauty and coral reefs, are the backdrop to a brewing geopolitical showdown. As of September 4, 2023, while no country has officially announced its sponsorship of the 2023 Maldives presidential election, inside sources have confirmed India's substantial involvement in the process. However, the election has garnered intense interest from two Asian giants: China and India.


Strategic Significance of the Maldives

The Maldives, an archipelago nation in the Indian Ocean, holds a pivotal position for both China and India. Its strategic location along major shipping routes makes it a crucial maritime hub, while its status as a popular tourist destination ensures a consistent influx of foreign currency.

China's Expanding Influence

China has been steadily increasing its influence in the Maldives in recent years, making significant investments in infrastructure projects and forging closer economic ties. Chinese involvement in the Maldives is part of its broader strategy to expand its presence in the Indian Ocean, allowing Beijing to protect its maritime routes and project power in the region.

India's Strategic Interests

India, the Maldives' historical ally, also has significant interests in the nation. India views the Maldives as a buffer against China's expansion in the Indian Ocean and seeks to maintain its traditional influence in the region. It is likely to support a candidate who aligns with its interests and values.

The Political Landscape

As the Maldives prepares for its presidential election, the political landscape is shaped by the competing interests of China and India. While no official endorsements have been made, the candidates are acutely aware of the influence these global powers wield.

The High Stakes

The outcome of the 2023 Maldives presidential election holds immense implications for the balance of power in the Indian Ocean region. It could determine the extent to which China and India can assert their influence and shape the political course of the Maldives.

The People

The citizens of the Maldives find themselves at the center of this geopolitical chess game. Their nation's fate is intricately tied to the decisions of global powers. Many Maldivians hope for a leader who can navigate this complex web of interests to secure their country's sovereignty and prosperity.


The 2023 Maldives presidential election has transformed the picturesque archipelago into a geopolitical battleground. China and India, motivated by strategic interests and the desire to safeguard their positions in the Indian Ocean, are closely monitoring the election's developments. The Maldives, with its rich natural beauty and political significance, remains a focal point in the broader global struggle for influence. As the election unfolds, the world watches to see which geopolitical player will make the right moves in this high-stakes game of international politics