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Pressure Mounts On Maldives President As Opposition Criticises Anti-India Stance, Calls It Detrimental To Development

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MALE: Amid escalating tensions in India-Maldives relations, triggered by President Mohammad Muizzu’s call for the withdrawal of Indian troops from Maldivian waters, coupled with diplomatic clashes over derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, two opposition parties, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and The Democrats, have come together in condemning the government’s pronounced anti-India pivot.

A Stark Shift In Foreign Policy Sparks Opposition Outcry

In a joint press statement, the MDP and The Democrats vehemently expressed their concern, denouncing the foreign policy shift as ‘extremely detrimental’ to the nation’s long-term development. The statement reiterated the Opposition’s belief that alienating a longstanding ally like India poses a significant threat to the country’s progress.

Opposition’s Emphasis On Stability And Security In the Indian Ocean

The Opposition emphasized the indispensable role of stability and security in the Indian Ocean for the overall well-being of the Maldives. Stressing the historical collaboration with India, they underscored the critical need for successive governments to maintain relationships with all development partners for the benefit of the Maldivian people.

China’s Growing Influence And Indian Concerns

Recent reports of a Chinese research vessel heading to the Maldives have raised eyebrows, especially following President Muizzu’s recent state visit to China. The Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs reassured that the country welcomes vessels from ‘friendly nations,’ but concerns have been voiced in New Delhi, given the historical context of similar situations in Sri Lanka in 2022.

Agreement To Fast-Track Indian Troops Withdrawal

On January 14, India and the Maldives reached an agreement to expedite the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the island nation. This move aligns with Muizzu’s election promise and has led to heightened tensions, considering the longstanding military cooperation between the two countries.

Row Over Disparaging Remarks On PM Modi And Lakshadweep Visit

A significant dispute unfolded after a Maldivian deputy minister and other officials made derogatory references to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep and his vision for developing the region into a global beach tourism destination.

Government’s Attempt To Distance Itself From Controversy 

Maldivian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Moosa Zameer, swiftly distanced the government from the disparaging remarks, labeling them as “unacceptable” and clarifying that they do not reflect the official position of the government. The incident adds to the complexity of the evolving diplomatic scenario between India and the Maldives.

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