While China or Pakistan trying to get a foothold in Maldives is a matter of "temporary concern", instances of Indian investments getting into trouble in neighbouring countries need not be seen as a case of "someone flexing muscle against you", said external affairs minister Salman Khurshid.
The decision to terminate GMR's contract with Male airport had snowballed into a major controversy between India and Maldives, with New Delhi telling the island nation to "protect its interests" and follow "due process of law". India was also peeved about the business issue turning into fodder for the competitive domestic politics there.
"Temporary concerns, passing concerns, of course to view and check our own efforts to ensure that, as you do it in the marketplace and the marketplace when a new shop opens, you do take a look and see whether it is attracting some of your old customers or whether you need to do something to reinforce your hold and your bond with your customers," Khurshid told HT.
He was answering a question on whether China and Pakistan gaining a foothold in Maldives was a matter of temporary tension between India and its neighbours. "Why shouldn't neighbouring countries take an interest? We do not hold a monopoly over any country… We should have the confidence to know that — ultimately — our ties will be stronger than that of anybody else," the minister added.
He said that the GMR issue, or a similar instance in Myanmar last year, was no indication of an emerging pattern of Indian investments getting into trouble in countries with an unfavourable political environment. "You just have to take these things in your stride and deal with them as they come. This should not be seen as an issue of someone flexing muscle against you. That would lead to a confrontation," Khurshid said.
GMR's airport contract was the biggest instance of foreign direct investment in the history of Maldives.