A campaign against India in the Maldives is being driven by a presidential candidate with pro-China leanings. Additionally, there is a counterfeit letter falsely attributed to Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar that is circulating. The Indian High Commission in the Maldives has expressed its strong disapproval of these actions.
A day before Maldives enters Presidential elections a fake letter belonging to Indian Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar was circulated on Maldives’s social media.
What was the letter about ?
The letter was clearly meant to malign India’s relationship with the Maldives. The letter mentioned India’s support for the MNDF (Maldives National Defence Forces) and certain conditions that are fake. The Indian High Commission said, “We unequivocally reject and condemn this malicious attempt to malign and disturb India-Maldives relations.”
India-China fight in Maldives
India and China are fighting for influence in the Maldives. This is akin to what happened in Nepal a few months ago. The presidential election in the Maldives on September 9 will decide whether China or India will win this competition.
Currently, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who promotes close ties with India first, appears to be slightly ahead in the polls, reports Reuters.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Indian Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar
Since gaining independence in 1965, India has provided various forms of support to the Maldives, including assistance for its socio-economic development, modernization efforts, and maritime security. Their cooperation saw significant growth starting in the late 1980s, when India initiated ‘Operation Cactus’ to thwart a coup attempt against the autocratic rule of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the Maldives.
The warm friendship persisted even during the Maldives’ initial experience with democratic governance after the 2008 elections.
However, when Abdulla Yameen assumed power in 2013, India-Maldives relations took a nosedive due to his crackdown on democratic values, growing closeness to China, and the use of anti-India rhetoric to mobilize nationalist sentiments.
INDIA OUT campaign:
Presidential candidate Mohamed Muizzu has a record of being close to China and has launched an “India out” campaign. He claims India is aiming to establish a permanent military presence in the Maldives.
Muizzu claims that if he comes to power in the Maldives, he will get rid of close to 75 Indian personnel and surveillance equipment.
India has cleared the air, saying it is helping to build a naval harbour for Maldivian forces, who will be trained by the Indian military.
Mohamed Muizzu is Vice President of the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the Mayor of Male’ City. Last year, in one of his speeches, Muizzu said former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom would strengthen the relationship between China and the Maldives upon his reelection next year.
But Yameen can’t contest elections!
In December 2022, the Maldives criminal court handed down an 11-year prison sentence and a $5 million fine to former President Abdulla Yameen. He was found guilty of corruption and money laundering offenses connected to receiving illicit payments from a private company. In August of this year, the Maldives Supreme Court affirmed that the imprisoned former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is ineligible to participate in the country’s presidential election scheduled for September 9th.
Maldives’s real issue: At the end of 2022, national debt stood at 113% of the country’s GDP of $6.1 billion—this is what worries commoners.
Vote wisely Maldives ! Don’t fall for Chinese Debt trap!