The midnight call from US President Donald Trump could not have come but for the best wishes to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to gear up for a military intervention in Maldives aimed at checkmating growing Chinese presence in an intriguing political crisis.
Following the Maldives' President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's declaration of a state of emergency, his opponent Mohamad Nasheed who is in exile in Sri Lanka publicly appealed India for a military intervention. He tweeted asking India to send an "envoy, backed by its military" to the Maldives.
But India is equally divided over the move as it had burnt its hands in Sri Lanka when it intervened and sent its troops to Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s only to be humiliated by both the parties -- Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers and the government.
Though India's quick intervention in Maldives last time in 1988 helped the then government to repel Sri Lankan mercenaries in boats, similar adventure is being countered by the current regime that is rushing envoys seeking help from China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
But the hawks in Modi's government are evidently vying for a military show in the island nation. The defence minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, known for anti-left views, may pitch for an onslaught to pre-empt any Chinese entry in Maldives.
Moreover, India is under pressure to restrain the current regime from selling its islands to the Chinese companies under a new amended law or else they may turn into potential Chinese military installations in the Indian Ocean, posing a threat to Diego Garcia of the US as well as Indian islands in the Ocean.
Leaving aside strategic considerations, political compulsions too equally weigh in favour of Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party that is making all possible moves to steer clear of Congress charges in the upcoming elections a year from now. Any military intervention in Maldives now will prep up its cadre to swing into action portraying it as soldiers' sacrifice to 'Make India Great' in the eyes of the world.
Otherwise, India has financial interests clearly under threat in the island nation. The setback in the Maldives' main international airport contract worth $511 million being taken away from the Indian infrastructure company GMR, is a clear indication that India may stand to loose more in the future.
Moreover, the current regime in Maldives is growing belligerent beyond India's tolerance proposing early elections with the opposition confined to jails or exile abroad. With their appeals for an early intervention reaching the Indian foreign ministry under another hawkish minister Ms Sushma Swaraj, it's just few days before the two strong women in Modi's cabinet recommend for a military intervention in Maldives.
With no cross-border conflict visibly on the cards, Modi may also go for an offshore Maldives operation as quick returns may bring him back to power. However, the long-term ramifications with China will weigh forever.