A Chinese naval combat force that entered the Indian Ocean for the first time in four years may have helped deter an Indian intervention in the Maldives after its pro-China president imposed a state of emergency, according to military and diplomatic sources and analysts.

India has traditionally been the biggest player in the tiny island chain 400 kilometers (250 miles) to its south, and faced calls from Maldives' opposition leaders last month to use force against President Abdulla Yameen to restore democracy.

After the state of emergency was declared, India — which sent troops to foil a coup in the Maldives three decades ago — moved aircraft and ships to its southern bases and put special forces on standby, two military sources in New Delhi said.