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Business News/ News / India-Maldives row: ‘President Muizzu should apologise to PM Modi…’ says Maldivian opposition leader
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India-Maldives row: ‘President Muizzu should apologise to PM Modi…’ says Maldivian opposition leader

Maldives news: Qasim Ibrahim, leader of Maldives Jumhooree Party (JP), has urged Maldivian President Mohammed Muizzu to apologize to PM Narendra Modi and the people of India over his remarks after the China trip.

Maldives President Mohamed MuizzuPremium
Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu

India-Maldives row: The Maldives Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Qasim Ibrahim has called on Maldivian President Mohammed Muizzu to formally apologise to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of India, as reported by a Maldivian digital news outlet.

"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 as quoted by the news outlet, Voice of Maldives.

Also read: India-Maldives row: President Mohamed Muizzu signs 20 agreements with China, including tourism co-operation

Further adding, he said, "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."

Also Read: India-Maldives row: ‘China one of our best allies’, Maldives President Muizzu urges Beijing to send more tourists

Earlier last year, the then Maldives President Ibrahim Solih signed a decree stating that the opposition's 'India Out' campaign is a "threat to national security". This allows security agencies to take down campaign banners and provides constitutional cover to take action against opposition parties.

Also Read: India-Maldives row: Why does Maldives want Indian troops out | Explainer

For more than a year, the opposition, led by former president Abdulla Yameen of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), has been pushing unproven claim that Indian military officers stationed in the Indian Ocean island nation are a violation of Maldives' sovereignty.

The campaign's implicit target was then Maldivian President Solih and the Maldivian Democratic Party, both perceived as close to India.

Also Read: China likely to appoint new ambassador to India after 15-month gap: Report

Notably, Solih was one of the prominent Maldives leader to condemn the derogatory remarks made by some junior ministers which led to a diplomatic standoff between the two nations. 

India and the Maldives on January 14 "agreed to fast-track the withdrawal of Indian military personnel" from the island nation, according to the Maldives' Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu had made a formal request to New Delhi to remove its military personnel from the island nation by March 15, 2024.

Also Read: Will Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu be impeached? Here's how numbers stack up amid escalating row

The removal of Indian troops in the Maldives was the main campaign plank of Muizzu's party during the presidential elections. Tensions between India and the Maldives have been rising since Muizzu swept into power in September on a campaign to reduce India’s influence on the island. Muizzu is known to share a closer relationship with China. Both India and China have alternatively vied for influence in the tiny island country, investing heavily in upgrading the Maldives’ infrastructure and extending loans to it.

Also Read: Maldives row impact? India drops to 5th spot on island's top 10 tourism markets list — where China stands

Currently, there are around 70 Indian troops, along with Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and two HAL Dhruv helicopters, stationed On the second day of assuming office, Muizzu officially requested the Indian government to withdraw its military personnel from the Maldives.

Apart from the call for the withdrawal of Indian military personnel, a massive row erupted after a Maldivian deputy minister, along with other cabinet members and government officials, made disparaging and unsavoury references to Primer Minister Narendra Modi's recent Lakshadweep visit and call to development the Indian archipelago as a global retreat for beach tourism. The Maldives government, however, distanced itself from the remarks. 

(With inputs from ANI)

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Published: 31 Jan 2024, 07:32 AM IST
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