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Maldives leader seeks India’s help

Ahmed Naseem, former Maldives Foreign Minister, at a press conference in New Delhi on Monday. | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

Counselling India not to be “fooled” by assurances from the Maldivian government that it would safeguard New Delhi’s interests, Ahmed Naseem, a leader of the Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has said that if President Abdulla Yameen returns to power, he will allow a full “takeover” of the islands by China.

“I know that Maldivian officials are telling India that they will look out for its security interests if President Yameen is allowed to return to power [after elections in September]. Don’t be fooled. This regime can never normalise relations with India because their paymasters won’t allow it,” Mr Naseem said at a press conference here on Monday.

Mr Naseem, who was Foreign Minister when Mohammad Nasheed was President, appealed for India’s help in ensuring fair elections in the island nation, given that all Opposition leaders were either “in jail or in exile”.

Of the two most prominent Opposition leaders, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is in prison serving a 19-month sentence pending appeals, while Mr Nasheed, who was earlier in prison, is now in exile. MDP leaders have complained that they are unable to hold their party conventions and campaign rallies because of the restrictions imposed by the government.

Mr Naseem is one of the most senior MDP leaders to visit India after Mr Nasheed travelled here in February. New Delhi and Male have been at loggerheads since then over a number of issues, including the Maldives’ squeeze on work permits for Indians and the Yameen government’s insistence on Delhi taking back two helicopters by the month-end.

Food export curbs

On Monday, the External Affairs Ministry sought to clarify its stand after it emerged that the government had “rationalised” or reduced food quotas on a number of items exported to the Maldives.

“The requirements of [the Maldives] are calculated based on actual utilisation in recent past and is consistent with the mechanism of the trade agreement signed between India and Maldives in 1981. India remains firmly committed to strong people-to-people ties between the two countries and will ensure that the people of the Maldives do not have to endure any hardships,” said spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, terming reports that India had reduced its food exports as a retaliatory measures “misleading”.

Special request

Mr Naseem too said that the issue of food imports was an ongoing negotiation between the two countries, but he expected to meet External Affairs Ministry officials during his visit to Delhi to discuss their expectations from India, and make a special request for an Indian delegation to visit the Maldives to oversee elections there.

“If President Yameen is allowed to steal the election, he will complete this journey from democracy to dictatorship. He has only been able to do this because he has been backed to the hilt by Beijing,” Mr Naseem alleged, adding that the MDP now believes at least 16 of the 26 main atolls that form the Maldives currently see investments and control by Chinese companies.

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6 Comments on "Maldives leader seeks India’s help"

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MissIndia
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India should not meddle in the squalid politics of Maldives. Nothing is likely to change in this politically unstable country. The future political scenario is so predictable. The next elections will have several hiccups and recounts till a suitable candidate from the Gayoom/Yameen extended family is elected. The incumbent will then arrest and lock up all those considered a political threat and digs his heels in for the next thirty years! Its like watching the repeat of a boring old film on television with the same tired cast. India has been a stable and secular democracy for seventy one years.… Read more »
Mumbaikar
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Really cultured? Show me a massacre like many happened in India. Do you remember nearly 20 civilians killed by the government of India in tuticorin ? India treats its lowercaste worse. You have a prime minister lead massacre of over two thousand people. You have godman raping women and worst corrupt government You have rapists as governors and ministers. That’s not Maldives. You have a worst caste based inequality. And India secular? Don’t become laughing stock. Look st your hell hole in India. No Indian has rights to come here. Compare HDI, per-capita and exchange rate. In Maldives every Maldivian… Read more »
Mumbaikar
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See how lynch-mob and gang-rape country citizens talking talking.

Mumbaikar
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Country of rapist godman Nithyanantha, Ramrahim Singh and babas. Country of monkey charmers. Country of brahmins. Country of crooks, barbarians and dirty.

Mumbaikar
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Pathetic. Seeking help from a hindu rightwing extremists who wants to control the entire subcontinent and wantantly exporting hindu terror in to neighboring countries. Wish these leaders understand what they are doing. India never helped Maldives to progress. They want Maldives to be client state. Learn it now or be Indian slave for ever. Sorry become Brahmin-bania slave.

MissIndia
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Hey Mumbaikar, if India is such a poor and backward country why are you mallus flocking to our universities and specialist hospitals? Is it because these basic facilities do not exist in your own backward country? Also stop buying Indian products. The small Maldives market is truly insignificant for us. The Saudis are riddled with coronary heart disease and diabetes. Why not get treated for these diseases there and perform umrah at the same time? Your sunni mates in Porkistan have serious problems with drug addiction, sexually transmitted diseases and mental health problems, just like you. Why not get treated… Read more »