MALE: The leader of the Maldives Jumhooree Party (JP), Qasim Ibrahim, has issued a strong call for Maldivian President Mohammed Muizzu to formally apologize to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of India. This call comes amidst escalating diplomatic tensions between the two countries following controversial remarks made after President Muizzu’s recent visit to China.
Diplomatic Strain Over ‘India Out’ Campaign
Ibrahim highlighted the importance of diplomatic decorum, especially with neighbouring nations, stressing that statements impacting bilateral relationships should be avoided. He pointed out the need to uphold national obligations, referencing President Solih’s decisive action in banning the “India Out” campaign, which was deemed a threat to national security.
“Regarding any country, especially a neighbouring one, we shouldn’t speak in a way that affects the relationship. We have an obligation to our state that must be considered. President Solih did consider this obligation and issued a Presidential Decree banning the “India Out” campaign. Now, Yameen is questioning why Muizzu, who participated with him in the India Out Campaign, has not nullified the Presidential Decree,” he said.
He added, “The Decree should not be nullified, as it would only result in a loss to the nation. That cannot be done. I would tell Muizzu that it shouldn’t be done. Also, I call on President Muizzu to formally apologize to the Indian government and Prime Minister Modi regarding his remarks after the China trip.”
Opposition’s Campaign Against Muizzu
The ‘India Out’ campaign, spearheaded by former President Abdulla Yameen’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), has been a contentious issue, alleging Indian military presence as a violation of sovereignty. This campaign, perceived as targeting President Solih and the Maldivian Democratic Party, aimed to exploit anti-India sentiments.
Withdrawal Of Indian Troops
Recent diplomatic efforts have seen India and the Maldives agree to expedite the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from the island nation. This move aligns with President Muizzu’s party’s campaign promise and underscores evolving bilateral dynamics.
Attack On PM Modi And Diplomatic Fallout
Disparaging remarks made by Maldivian officials regarding Prime Minister Modi’s policies, notably concerning Lakshadweep’s development, stirred diplomatic tensions. Despite government disavowal of these statements, they underscored underlying frictions.
Legal battles and political manoeuvres continue, with the Attorney General’s Office registering a case over amendments enabling opposition lawmakers to impeach President Muizzu. Changes in parliamentary standing orders have altered the impeachment threshold, reflecting the fluid political landscape.
The Power Game In Maldives
With parliamentary polls scheduled for 2024, political parties are manoeuvring to consolidate power. The amendment to parliamentary standing orders reflects strategic calculations as opposition parties seek to leverage political dynamics in their favour. The Maldives navigates a complex geopolitical landscape, balancing domestic politics with regional alliances, amidst calls for diplomatic reconciliation and internal political restructuring.