Requesting India’s troop withdrawal in line with Maldives’ national security: expert

Aerial photo taken on Sept 1, 2019 shows the panoramic view of Male, capital of Maldives. Photo: Xinhua

Aerial photo taken on September 1, 2019 shows the panoramic view of Male, capital of Maldives. File Photo: Xinhua

India completed its troop withdrawal from the Maldives on Thursday, a move that experts said aligns with international law and norms. The call for India to withdraw its troops reflects the sentiment of the Maldivian people and fulfills the country’s need for national security and dignity, according to experts.

They also refuted the hype that associates the withdrawal with the Maldivian President’s “pro-China” policy, attributing such hype to a perception of the country as not being an independent sovereign nation, but rather as being part of India’s sphere of influence.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday confirmed the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the Maldives and the “deputation of competent persons” to the archipelago nation, Indian news outlet NDTV reported.

The completion came after Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu’s request that all Indian military personnel in the country be withdrawn from the Maldives by May 10, honoring a promise he made in his presidential campaign.

“The Maldives is a sovereign nation, and in accordance with international law and established norms, India should withdraw its troops,” Long Xingchun, a professor at the School of International Relations at Sichuan International Studies University, told the Global Times on Friday.

The Maldives’ call for India to remove its troops is viewed as a crucial step for safeguarding national security and upholding national pride, and the request was not solely the president’s policy, but rather a reflection of the collective will of the Maldivian people, Long said.

The expert added that for India, failing to withdraw its troops will result in tarnishing its international reputation, as such actions would be perceived as aggressive. “Therefore, it is imperative for India to promptly withdraw its troops to avoid further damage to its national image,” he said.

However, despite India’s withdrawal of troops from the Maldives being an act in compliance with international law, many Indian and Western media outlets still associate it with Muizzu’s so-called pro-China policy, ignoring the fact that the president himself has repeatedly stated that he is not “pro-China,” but “pro-Maldives,” and that Maldives is willing to cooperate with all countries, including India and China.

Long noted that the such hype stems from the fact that the Maldives is still seen as being within India’s sphere of influence, which limits the country to only maintaining good relations and cooperating with India, rather than being recognized as an independent sovereign nation deserving of equal treatment.

“This perspective is fundamentally wrong, violates the UN charter and international law, and must be corrected,” Long said, noting that as an independent sovereign state, Maldives has the right and the need to develop ties with other countries in the world, including China.

According to AP, a day ahead of India’s troop withdrawal deadline, the foreign ministers of India and Maldives met in New Delhi, where Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told his Maldives counterpart, Moosa Zameer, that India has been a key provider of development assistance, including infrastructure projects, medical care and health facilities.

Jaishankar also highlighted the close partnerships with neighbors as the world is today “passing through a volatile and uncertain period,” Nikkei Asia reported.

Analysts noted that India has been a source of assistance and support for the Maldives, strengthening the bond between the two nations. However, they warned that it is important for India to recognize the importance of maintaining the relationship based on mutual respect and equality. “It is crucial for India to prioritize treating others with fairness and respect, rather than striving for a relationship of superiority over the Maldives,” Long said.

RISC-V chip tech curb on China ‘to harm US firms’

A chip manufacture machine Photo: VCG

A chip manufacture machine Photo: VCG

The US is reportedly working to review the potential risks of RISC-V chip technology being used by major Chinese technology companies, which is seen as a new front of the expanding technology war initiated by the US that aims to curb China’s development in the sector.

Observers said that the US will find it difficult to restrict China on RISC-V technology and that if it does so, US companies could bear huge losses and the global supply chain could be affected.

The US Department of Commerce is reviewing the national security implications of China’s work in open-source RISC-V chip technology, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing a letter the department sent to US lawmakers.

Any restrictions could set off a chain reaction and create uncertainty for the initiators themselves, Zhang Xiaorong, director of the Beijing-based Cutting-Edge Technology Research Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

“As an open-source technology, RISC-V is widely used in the design of the Internet of Things. China’s contribution to the technology is strong,” said Zhang.

According to Reuters, the US Commerce Department letter said that it is “working to review potential risks and assess whether there are appropriate actions under Commerce authorities that could effectively address any potential concerns.” 

But the Commerce Department also noted that it would need to tread carefully to avoid harming US companies that are part of international groups working on RISC-V technology. Previous controls on transferring 5G technology to China created roadblocks for US firms working in international standards bodies where China was also a participant, risking US leadership in the field, according to Reuters.

Analysts said that the letter shows that the US action is about technology dominance, not open-source development.

RISC-V, pronounced as “risk five,” is a set of basic instructions that tell a chip how to perform a computing task. It provides a common language for designing processors used in devices such as smartphones, disk drives, Wi-Fi routers and tablets, according to RISC-V International, a non-profit managing RISC-V technology.

Since RISC-V is an open-source technology, if the US imposes restrictions, it will slow down the global development of the technology, Ma Jihua, a veteran telecom industry observer, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

If the US imposes restrictions, it may only restrict American companies that do RISC-V research and development and production from cooperating with Chinese companies, Ma said.

“It’s similar to … when the US sanctioned Huawei [and] American companies weren’t allowed to participate in international conferences or organizations where Huawei was present. However, the ban was eventually revised because Huawei was seen as more important to many international organizations than some American companies,” said Ma, and it will be the same with RISC-V technology.

Controlling China’s access to RISC-V technology, however, is easier said than done, said an analysis published by the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), a policy research organization within Georgetown University, in January.

RISC-V International moved its headquarters from the US to Switzerland in March 2020 in part to insulate itself from the creeping influence of geopolitics on the chip industry. This move severely limits the US government’s regulatory options, according to CSET.

Beijing film festival drops poster for its main promotional film

Poster for film
As Spring Comes Along by Gu Xiaogang [Photo provided to]

The 14th Beijing International Film Festival, which will be held from April 18-26, released a teaser poster on Saturday for its main promotional film As Spring Comes Along by Chinese director Gu Xiaogang.

The poster for the upcoming film features the Summer Palace with lush spring scenery, embodying the beauty of traditional Chinese architecture and striking the viewer as a half rolled-up Chinese scroll painting, holding more for the eye.

Born in 1988, Gu is known for his first feature Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains (2019) and its follow-up film Dwelling by the West Lake (2023).

Gu received the 2023 Kurosawa Akira Award, which honors the renowned Japanese auteur’s legacy and ongoing influence. This award is presented to filmmakers who have made waves in cinema and are expected to help guide the industry’s future, according to the Tokyo International Film Festival.