Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen, who was recently acquitted in a money laundering case, will take part in the ongoing anti-India protests, seeking to end the “Indian military presence” in the archipelago
Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen, who was recently acquitted in a money laundering case, will take part in the ongoing anti-India protests, seeking to end the “Indian military presence” in the archipelago. Opposition parties have long been staging the “India-out” campaign to discredit the current government, which favors friendly and close defense ties with India.
“The most important political activity in Yameen’s view is the work carried out to remove Indian military personnel,” Opposition coalition spokesperson Heena Waleed was quoted as saying by Sun news.
She confirmed that Yameen would travel to atolls to “further promote the ‘Indian Military Out’ campaign – which was kicked off to push for the removal of Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives,” reported Sun news. He would be travelling to the atolls at the end of this week or at the beginning of next week, she added.
Under Yameen, who was in office from 2013 to 2018, the Maldives grew increasingly closer to China at the cost of its friendly ties to India. However, Yameen lost the elections in 2018, and the next government led by President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih reversed his policy decisions and again adopted the “India First” policy.
Yameen’s tour will kick off from the islands within Kaafu Atoll and later on to large islands and cities across the country, media reports said.
“Yameen has told that the priority during this trip will be the work carried out to remove the Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives, for the purpose of defending the independence,” Heena was quoted as saying by Sun news. “The main purpose of the trip, therefore, is to take these activities to a new level,” she added.
Since his conviction in 2019, Yameen was not politically active. However, his conviction was quashed last week by the apex court. During his earlier stint, Yameen grew openly hostile to India, raking up the Kashmir issue in his public remarks.
His party said that the Maldives was "not a town of India" and that Indian military personnel was "not required to ensure the security of this country."
Interestingly, there is no official confirmation, either from India or the Maldives, if the Indian military indeed has any physical presence in the Maldives. However, the Solih government openly defends its close defense ties with New Delhi, arguing the geopolitical positioning of the archipelago requires it to have friendly ties with all neighbors, including India.
Experts also say Yameen’s party politicized the ties with India for domestic political gains.