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India assisted us irrespective of party in power, Maldives foreign minister hits out at ‘India Out’ campaigners

India has historically extended assistance to the Maldives in every crisis, the archipelago’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid said, defending his government’s India-friendly foreign policy as opposition parties intensify the “India Out” campaign that seeks to end what they perceive as "Indian military presence in the Maldives"

Jan 13, 2022
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Maldives Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid (Photo: Twitter)

India has historically extended assistance to the Maldives in every crisis, the archipelago’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid said, defending his government’s India-friendly foreign policy as opposition parties intensify the “India Out” campaign that seeks to end what they perceive as "Indian military presence in the Maldives". 

Shahid, who is also the President of the 76th United Nations General Assembly, said that it was not "beneficial" to go against a “specific country”— a reference to the “India Out” campaign led by former President Abdulla Yameen. 

Out of power since 2018, China-leaning Yameen has ruled the archipelago—known for its opulent beachside resorts and luxury tourism— between 2013 to 2018. He has become openly hostile towards India.  Under his regime, ties between India and the Maldives nosedived as he openly courted China and took billions in loans for development projects. 

“What I am trying to say is that India is a country that had lent assistance during major crises faced,” Shahid said in an interview to Sun news, countering the opposition charges.  

He added, “Moreover, if you look at the history, assistance was not rendered because there was a certain person governing the Maldives. During different crises, different people were governing the Maldives.”

Yameen’s party, PPM along with others, started a hate propaganda against India—initially on social media platforms and then in public rallies—when the Solih government in 2019 not only repaired ties with India but also sought deeper bilateral cooperation in several fields, including defense. 

“The ties between India and Maldives is not linked to a certain party, a certain administration, or a certain person,” Foreign Minister Shahid said, adding that New Delhi’s continuous assistance proves that relations are based on people-to-people ties. 

On Yameen’s participation in the “India-Out” rallies, Shahid said that the government supports the freedom of expression but going against a specific country is not "beneficial" to the Maldives. 

“Whatever they are doing, it is not in good intentions for the normal citizens. It is being done due to the position they are in, because there is nothing else to talk about,” Shahid said on Yameen’s opposition to India. 

Some people of them who are opposing India today, he said, earlier used to say small countries like the Maldives should not become prejudiced against a neighboring country based on emotions, reported Sun news. 

In recent months, the Maldivian government has issued repeated statements condemning these protests by terming it hate propaganda based on “unsubstantiated information” by  “a small group of individuals” and a few political personalities. 

(SAM) 

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