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Issue of ‘Chinese land grabbing’ in Maldives cause for concern: Pentagon 

Washington: Amid allegations of China engaging in massive land grabbing in the Maldives, the Pentagon on Saturday said it was a cause for concern for the US.

Asserting that the US was “committed to a free and open” Indo-Pacific rules-based order, the Pentagon said anything else would cause the US concern.

“The US is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific rules-based order. We have seen concerning developments in Maldives as far as the Chinese influence is concerned,” Joe Felter, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia, told PTI in interview.

“It’s in India’s backyard. We know it’s of concern to India. So, yes, (the situation in Maldives) is a concern. We will see how it plays out. It emphasises some of our priorities identified in our National Defence Strategy,” the top Pentagon official said.

He was responding to a question on the allegations of a Maldivian Opposition leader and a former Foreign Minister, on the Chinese land grabbing activities in the island nation with the potential of developing them into a military outpost.

Felter said these developments were “a cause of concern” for all states that supported the maintenance of a rules-based order.

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