President of the Maldives Faces Criticism for His Government’s “Anti-Indian” Position

President of the Maldives Faces Criticism for His Government's "Anti-Indian" Position

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Democrats published the warning in the midst of tense relations between its two neighbors and the Maldives’ closeness to China.

Two days after the government of the Maldives announced that a Chinese ship will be docking at their port, the two main opposition parties have cautioned that the government’s “anti-India stance” could be detrimental to the island nation’s future.

The Maldives’ affection for China and the strained ties between the two neighbors coincide with a potentially important military and geopolitical shift in the Indian Ocean region, prompting the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Democrats to issue a warning.

In contrast to his predecessors who advocated a pro-India stance, President Mohamed Muizzu won the 2023 elections by relying on an anti-India narrative.

“Both, the MDP and The Democrats believe alienating any development partner, and especially the country’s most long-standing ally will be extremely detrimental to the long-term development of the country,” both opposition parties stated, describing India as the “most long-standing ally” .

The Maldivian government needs to continue collaborating with all development partners, as it has in the past, according to their evaluation of “the direction in foreign policy”.The two opposition parties, which together control 55 seats in the 87-member house, said that “stability and security in the Indian Ocean is vital to the stability and security of the Maldives.” The MDP chairperson Fayyaz Ismail, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Ahmed Saleem, the Democratic Party’s top MP Hassan Latheef, and the Parliamentary Group Leader Ali Azim all made the comments during a joint news conference. Following a diplomatic spat over disparaging remarks made by Maldivian politicians against Prime Minister Narendra Modi following his visit to India’s Lakshadweep islands, the Maldives has strengthened its ties with China. Additionally, the nation has given India until March 5th to remove its troops; this date coincides with President Muizzu’s first official visit to China following his election. In addition, this was his first port of call following taking office, which was another departure from the custom of his predecessors, who usually made India their first port of call.

Permit to Chiniese Surevey Ships

The Maldives declared earlier this week that although a Chinese survey ship was permitted to land at one of its ports for resupply, it will not be carrying out any “research” in Maldivian seas.
A further indication of Male’s shift away from New Delhi and toward Beijing is the Maldives’ statement that “the Maldives has always been a welcoming destination for vessels of friendly countries, and continues to host both civilian and military vessels making port calls for peaceful purposes.”
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