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Maldivian opposition parties vow to intensify ‘India Out’ campaign under Yameen

Maldivian opposition parties have announced they would intensify their ongoing “India-Out” campaign in the coming weeks under the leadership of former president Abdullah Yameen, days after the  government termed it a “misguided and unsubstantiated” campaign aimed at fuelling “hatred towards India.”

Dec 22, 2021
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Former Maldives President Abdulla Yameen speaking at a demonstration as part of the 'India Out' campaign (Photo: NewsX)

Maldivian opposition parties have announced they would intensify their ongoing “India-Out” campaign in the coming weeks under the leadership of former president Abdullah Yameen, days after the  government termed it a “misguided and unsubstantiated” campaign aimed at fuelling “hatred towards India.” 

Yameen, the leader of the opposition party PPM, recently released from house arrest after being acquitted in a money laundering case, has adopted an openly hostile attitude towards India. On Tuesday, Heena Waleed, the spokesperson of the PPM, announced, “President Yameen has instructed to take forward the events held under the ‘India Out.”

Speaking in a rally two weeks ago soon after his release, Yameen made it clear that it didn’t want any Indian military presence in the Maldives. However, neither India nor the Maldives has confirmed reports of any Indian military presence in the country.  
 
Last week, Yameen visited several islands and participated in “India Out” rallies, a campaign the government says poses "danger" to the archipelago’s national security. Addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Male, she added that Yameen would take part in the events in the evening on Thursday as well as attend a gathering to be held at night. 

On Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a stern statement expressing concern over the campaign. The campaign, it said, is by “a small group of individuals and a few political personalities” was aimed at propagating “hatred towards India", one of its closest bilateral partners. 

“While the Government of Maldives champions the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, the Government strongly believes these fundamental rights should be exercised in a democratic and responsible manner,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. 

Hatred and false narratives, the statement added, not only "tarnish the relations with trusted allies who extend consistent support to the Maldivian people, but also affect the safety and security of their citizens in the Maldives, and Maldivians living abroad.”

Defending the government’s security ties with certain countries, the government said it reaffirmed the country’s long-standing ties with “all its international partners", based on "principles of mutual respect and understanding, and in accordance with respective national and international law.”

Yameen, who has been the archipelago’s president between 2013 to 2018,  has since losing the 2018 elections politicized ties with India for petty domestic political gains, experts say. The UTF Harbour deal—that the Maldives government had signed with India earlier this year which Yameen now opposes - was actually first sought by the Yameen government. 

(SAM) 

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