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Economy

China-Maldives trade pact catches India off guard

Deal rushed through island nation's legislature under cover of darkness

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Beijing on Dec. 7.   © Reuters

KATHMANDU -- While India's political establishment was focused on Nepal's landmark election on Thursday, China was busy wrapping up a free-trade agreement with the Maldives. The move represents a diplomatic setback for New Delhi, as Beijing expands its influence in South Asia.

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