During the Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to the Maldives, the Maldives and China inked critical bilateral agreements on infrastructure development and maintenance in the Indian Ocean archipelago, as well as an agreement on visa-free travel for Maldivians travelling to China.
The Maldives’ Foreign Minister and his Chinese colleague presented a new official emblem to commemorate the nations’ 50-year diplomatic relationship.
Mr Shahid described China as “one of the Maldives’ most significant development partners,” noting that China “has continued to contribute to the Maldives’ socio-economic growth.”
During formal meetings, the Foreign Ministers addressed “strengthening the many areas of cooperation.”
The Maldives’ Importance
The two critical maritime routes of communication are located at the southern and northern ends of this island series.
These SLOCs are crucial for maritime commerce between West Asia’s Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Hormuz and Southeast Asia’s Strait of Malacca (SLOCs).
Nearly half of India’s external commerce and more than two-thirds of its energy imports pass via these SLOCs in the Arabian Sea.
Additionally, the Maldives is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation.
India and Maldives:
India and the Maldives have ancient ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious, and economic ties and enjoy close, friendly, and multifaceted connections.
India was one of the first countries to recognise and establish diplomatic ties with the Maldives after its independence in 1965.
In 1972, India created a CDA-level mission and a resident High Commissioner-level mission in 1980.
In November 2004, the Maldives established a full-fledged High Commission in New Delhi, one of only four diplomatic offices globally at the time.
Recent agreements between China and the Maldives:
According to a statement released by the Maldives Foreign Ministry, the visa waiver agreement would enable Maldivians to travel to China visa-free for 30 days after the limitations are eliminated.
The two countries inked an ‘Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement on grant assistance, with an emphasis on social, livelihood, and infrastructure initiatives.
Additionally, the Maldives’ government signed a ‘Letter of Exchange’ on a ‘Feasibility Study for the Management and Maintenance of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge’, requesting Chinese aid in maintaining the 1.4-kilometre bridge linking Male and the island of Hulhumale.
It was constructed with Chinese help of $ 200 million under the administration of former President Abdulla Yameen, whose government was close to Beijing.
The bridge is regarded as China’s crown jewel in the Maldives. Male owes Beijing over $1.4 billion in outstanding debt from previous loans, which President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration has trying to “restructure.”
China has also pledged to support a seawater desalination project and to collaborate in the health sector.
The visit of the Chinese foreign minister would be “significant for the future development of bilateral ties.”
Maldives’ ‘India Out’ campaign:
The Chinese foreign minister’s visit also coincides with a rising ‘India Out’ movement among segments of the Maldives’ population opposed to “Indian military presence.”
The administration has refuted the charge. The ‘India Out’ movement has lately stepped up its efforts, bolstered by President Yameen, whose conviction in a money laundering case was recently reversed by the Supreme Court.
Cooperation between India and the Maldives:
India remains a dedicated development partner for a secure, prosperous, and peaceful Maldives, in line with the government’s “Neighbourhood First Policy.”
Recent military cooperation between India and the Maldives will strengthen India’s capacity to monitor Chinese marine and naval actions along critical water routes that run alongside the Maldives.
Tourism is the Maldives’ primary source of revenue. For some Indians, the country is now a significant tourist destination, while for others, it is a source of employment.
India also sent aid after the 2004 tsunami and the subsequent drinking water crisis in Male a decade later.
Among India’s surrounding nations, the Maldives has been one of the largest recipients of Covid-19 aid and vaccines.
Maldivian students’ study in Indian educational institutions, while patients go here for super speciality treatment, facilitated by India’s generous visa-free environment.
However, India’s primary worry has been the effect of neighbouring political instability on its security and growth.
The February 2015 arrest of Maldives opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed on terrorist charges and the ensuing political turmoil has put India’s neighbourhood policy to the ultimate diplomatic test.
New Delhi will keenly monitor the Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit since it has maintained regular, high-level interaction with the current Maldives administration, which openly promotes an ‘India First’ foreign policy.
Following Male’s regime transition in 2018, India promised $ 1.4 billion to the island nation’s development. Male is home to around 5.5 lakh inhabitants.
Drones a challenge or solution for India
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has called for more effective use of drone applications and urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance, situational analysis, crime control, VIP security, and disaster management, among other purposes, as part of a nationwide initiative to bring the third eye to the sky.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has established Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for agricultural drone use.
The drone is colloquial for Unmanned Aircraft (UA). Unmanned Aircraft are classified into three subcategories: Remotely Piloted Aircraft, Autonomous Aircraft, and Model Aircraft.
A Remotely Piloted Aircraft is composed of one or more remote pilot stations, the necessary command and control connections, and any additional components specified in the type design.
Drone Technology in Action:
Drones benefited almost every area of the economy, including national defence, agriculture, law enforcement, and mapping, to name a few.
Drone systems may be utilised as a counter-terrorism weapon.
Drones are compatible with the nation’s airspace system.
Drone deployment for warfare, communication in distant places, and counter-drone solutions are possible.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has authorised a collaboration with the Telangana government to use drone technology to distribute immunizations to rural locations.
Drones may be used to distribute micronutrients in agriculture.
It may also be used to conduct surveys to ascertain the difficulties experienced by farmers.
Within less than a year of its debut, the Government of India’s SVAMITVA initiative assisted around half a million village inhabitants in obtaining their property cards by mapping out the Abadi zones.
Drones may be used to monitor assets and transmission lines in real-time, to prevent theft, to conduct visual inspections and maintenance, and to plan and oversee construction projects.
They may be used to combat poaching, monitor forests and animals, analyse pollutants, and collect evidence.
Drones are particularly critical for law enforcement agencies, fire and emergency services, and healthcare services in areas where human involvement is not safe.
Drone Regulations in 2021:
The Ministry of Civil Aviation released the Drone Rules for 2021, which are based on “trust, self-certification, and non-intrusive surveillance.”
The proposed regulations would supersede the current Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, which were published in March 2021.
The objective was to develop a “digital sky platform” that would serve as a business-friendly one-stop-shop for obtaining numerous clearances.
The digital sky platform will have a minimum human interface, and the majority of permits will be self-generated.
Dronesand Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan:
Drones are one of 24 industries identified by the Government of India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry as areas where the AtmaNirbhar Bharat plan may be effectively implemented.
India not only conducts considerable research at institutes such as IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Bombay, and IIT-Delhi but also converts that knowledge into products.
As part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’s efforts to establish India as a worldwide centre for drones, and in light of the Union Government’s upcoming liberalisation of the Drone Rules in 2021, experts urged that the heads of several Ministries encourage efficient use of the technology.
The options include the Ministry of Defence deploying drones for warfare, communication in rural locations, and counter-drone measures; and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare delivering medications and collecting samples from remote or epidemic/pandemic-affected areas.
There are suggestions that unmanned aerial vehicles be utilised to handle disasters, respond to incidents, do inspection/maintenance work, and monitor projects.
The Ministry of Railways wrote to General Managers across its network requesting their assistance in implementing the ideas, sources said, adding that the Western Railway’s Principal Chief Security Commissioner had been named the nodal officer to coordinate with the Aviation Ministry for guidance and support.
India now has over 130 firms registered with IITs and other organisations for the purpose of launching drones in a variety of application sectors.
India’s drone technology is very significant and has enormous promise. Security issues should be addressed prudently and not used to prevent us from using the technology.
Security considerations, on the other hand, must not be compromised. Drone technology is predicted to be the most cost-effective and widely used system in the civilian and military domains in the next years.
Ethics | Paper – IV
In public administration, being non-partisan implies not taking a position in favour of any one organisation, particularly political groups and parties.
Decisions should be based on facts and for the purpose of achieving the highest public welfare, rather than for the benefit of a certain entity.
Advice should be given without regard to possible consequences.
For example, a Civil worker who works with the same level of passion, honesty, and commitment regardless of whether political party is in power.
An ethical dilemma or ethical paradox is a decision-making difficulty that involves choosing between two moral imperatives that are neither unequivocally acceptable nor preferred.
The complexity emerges as a consequence of the situational conflict that occurs when following one command results in the transgression of another.
For example, in a circumstance when only one can be rescued, whether to save the baby’s life at the cost of the mother’s or vice versa.