News agency are reporting that China is sending about 1000 tonnes of fresh water to the Maldives after a fire at the sole water sewage treatment plant in Male, the capital, left 100,000 people without safe drinking water. The Maldives, a group of 1000+ coral islands southwest of India, is a popular honeymoon and tourist spot and has a population of about 400,000 people.
The Maldives requested aid from India, Sri Lanka, the United States and China.
China is using military vessel to transport the majority of the fresh water to the island nation in the strategic location of the Indian Ocean archipelago.
India reported that it's using its fleet tanker, the INS Deepak and the INS Sukanya, to deliver around 900 tonnes of fresh water and replacement parts to help fix the machinery at the water treatment plant. According to the report, the fleet tankers are able to produce fresh water using its using its onboard desalination plant and the INS Deepak is capable of generating 100 tonnes of water per day while INS Sukanya is capable of 20 tonnes of fresh per day.
Both India and China have rapidly responded to the Maldives' request for assistance. Given the strategic maritime importance of the island nation, it seems China and India are both scrambling to outdo one another. China, of course, wants to secure the shipping lane for transport of oil while India wants to prevent China from barricading India's territorial waters with the so-called "String of Pearls" strategy.
As for the US, it seems to be leaving the battle for the hearts and minds of the Maldivians to India and China.