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Business News/ News / World/  'Impossible to muddy ties with India': New Maldives' opposition party leader Abdulla Shahid amid diplomatic row
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'Impossible to muddy ties with India': New Maldives' opposition party leader Abdulla Shahid amid diplomatic row

Shahid defended the close ties between Maldives and India, citing historical and cultural connections. He praised India's economic growth and urged policies to leverage it for Maldives' benefit. He also denied claims that his opposition leader appointment was backed by India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with President of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu during the COP28 in UAE (PTI)Premium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with President of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu during the COP28 in UAE (PTI)

Maldives opposition party leader Abdulla Shahid insisted recently that it was “impossible to muddy ties with India" — irrespective of foreign policy changes brought by the new government. Ties between the two countries have been strained since President Mohamed Muizzu rode to power on anti-India rhetoric. Comments against the Indian administration had also prompted many Indians cancel vacations to the island nation and issue vociferous calls for a boycott via social media. 

“India is tied to us historically, culturally, and in several other ways. India has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world for the past 60 years. It is also the fastest-growing economic state with the largest population in the world. So our policies should focus on exploring all avenues from which the Maldives could benefit owing to the economic progress made by India," Shahid told Sun Online during an interview. 

He also rebuffed assertions that his recent appointment as the main opposition leader was backed by India. The 61-year-old former UN General Assembly president was elected to the top post without an election last Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Indians confuse Mauritius with Maldives after tourism tweet: ‘Not interested, please invite China'


The Maldives is a key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean region and occupies a special place in its initiatives like SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and the Neighbourhood First Policy' of the Narendra Modi government. The island nation's proximity to India — barely 70 nautical miles from the island of Minicoy in Lakshadweep and 300 nautical miles from the mainland's western coast — and its location at the hub of commercial sea lanes running through the Indian Ocean Region gives it significant strategic importance.

“Humanity is humanity. Diplomacy is diplomacy, and politics is politics. The whole world doesn't always run with obligation...so if we have encountered such a situation, the solution will come through diplomacy only. We have to make people understand, sometimes people don't even have complete knowledge of things, sometimes people get misguided on what others say," said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 27 Feb 2024, 05:50 AM IST
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