Beijing: China is trying to stoke political instability in the Maldives, an archipelago country that is already hugely indebted to China, with an aim to gain dominance in the Indian Ocean region.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Ye landed in the Maldives just a few days after ex-Maldivian President Abdullah Yameen's release from house arrest and this indicates that China is planning to place its political weight behind Yameen who facilitated China's deeper inroads into the Maldives during his Presidential rule from 2013 to 2018.

Notably, Islamic radicals in the media are backing Yameen in his attempt to stoke political fire across the country as he heads for the Presidential election in 2023.

Now to claw back its influence in the Indian Ocean Region China is adopting a multi-pronged approach and to start with it will boost a campaign against the current political establishment with the help of Islamist nationalist political agenda, reported Maldives Voice.

Secondly, China will try to create a political atmosphere for a change by bringing political parties like the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People's National Congress (PNC) together.

Furthermore, China will also play out its developmental agenda to convince Maldivians that China takes care of Male's interests. This is justified by the five agreements that Wang Ye signed with his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid during his visit.

They included the Hospital Assistance and Cooperation Programme, setting up micro-grid seawater desalination plants in five islands of Maldives, economic and technical cooperation agreement, visa waiver agreement, maintenance of China-Maldives Friendship Bridge.

Moreover, China will deepen its cooperation with the Maldives, by granting money for projects. During Wang Yi's day-long visit, China offered Maldives US $63 million in grants for infrastructure projects.

The Maldives officially owes USD 1.4 billion to the Middle Kingdom but there is more to this than meets the eye. Its debt to China is higher than USD 3.5 billion even as it is only a USD 5 billion economy with tourism as its only lifeline. This figure includes government to government loans, the money given to state enterprises and private sector loans guaranteed by the Maldivian government.

China is also eyeing to take Pakistan's support as it has a deep link with Islamist groups who are not on good terms with the current government of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Maldives President, reported Maldives Voice.

Notably, Maldives is geographically in a very strategic position. It is in between the Gulf of Aden and the Malacca Strait, making it a very important archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

Malacca Strait is the narrow waterway that passes through Indonesia and Malaysia and through which more than 70 per cent of the Chinese goods and oil are shipped every year. China fears that its economy will suffocate if its rivals block the movement of goods.

To avert all this, the Chinese leadership is aiming for the second military base in the Indian Ocean and only a friendly government in the Maldives can boost its chance to turn FeydhooFinolhu Island into a full military base.

As per the experts, China is trying to replicate its island grabbing strategy of the South China Sea in the Indian Ocean Region--especially in the Maldives and Sri Lanka.