Vice chairman of China’s political advisory board arrives in Maldives

Bater, the vice chairperson of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the political advisory board of China, arrives in the Maldives on an official visit on June 11, 2024. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Bater, the vice chairperson of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the political advisory board in the People’s Republic of China, has arrived in the Maldives on Tuesday evening on an official visit.

Bater was received upon his arrival at Velana International Airport (VIA) by the Depuy Speaker of the Parliament Ahmed Nazim.

Parliament’s Communications Director Hassan Ziyau told Sun that Bater is on an official three-day visit.

As per Ziyau, Bater is scheduled to hold meetings with Parliament Speaker Abdul Raheem Abdulla, Deputy Speaker Nazim and senior government officials during this trip.

He will be commencing these meetings tomorrow.

Bater, who also serves as a member of Central Committee of ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), was appointed vice chairperson of CPPCC in 2018.

CPPCC, comprising of delegates from CCP and its people’s organizations, political parties and independent members, advise and put proposals for political and social issues to government bodies. It, however, lacks any real legislative power.

The visit to the Maldives by a senior official linked to the Chinese government comes at a time of intensifying rivalry between China and India in the Indian Ocean region, particularly with respect to the Maldives.  

This is notably due to the fact that the current administration is dubbed in the international media as ‘pro-China’ and the soured India-Maldives relations at the onset of the current administration.

It has been alleged that President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s decision to undertake his first official visit abroad after assuming office to a nation other than India, will impact India-Maldives relations. Most former presidents have undertaken their first official visit abroad to India.

On the contrary, President Muizzu’s first visit abroad was to Turkiye, while his first state visit was undertaken to China. The Maldivian leader visited India for the first time after assuming office last Saturday, to attend the inauguration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Both governments have since affirmed the visit would put India-Maldives relations on a positive trajectory.