The ‘India Out’ campaign in MaldivesDate: 13 January 2022 Tags: India & World
The ‘India Out’ campaign has gained steam over the past few weeks after the release of former President Abdulla Yameen.
The campaign, which started on social media, cropped up every now and then after the election of Ibrahim Solih to the top office.
The campaign is run by anti-government forces that accuse it of allowing Indian military on the island and compromising on the sovereignty.
The government has denied all the charges and said that country’s sovereignty is not under any threat from foreign forces.
The campaign was primarily on social media but now has taken the form of public rallies, where former President Yameen is frequently seen after his acquittal.
Start of the campaign
The campaign strengthened after the signing of the Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) harbour development deal with India in February 2021.
It was seen as a way of allowing Indian military presence in the island nation. Similar resistance emerged after India announced the opening of a consulate in the southern Addu Atoll.
Yameen’s presence in campaigns
Yameen’s tenure was marked with drastic deterioration of India-Maldives ties. He is seen as a proponent of strengthening ties with China.
The current dispensation has adopted ‘India first’ approach. It has preferred India as its first choice, be it on security partnership, development assistance or COVID response.
The next Presidential elections are slated to take place in 2023. Yameen is trying to make a political comeback by using anti-India sentiments.
Response by government
The government has pointed at a small group of individuals and a few political personalities responsible for the malicious campaign.
It has refused charges by the grouping that sovereignty of Maldives is in jeopardy. It says that they were designed to enhance the security apparatus of the country.
India’s relation with Maldives
India has been maintaining good ties with current government. It has extended $1.4 billion towards the Maldives’s “socio-economic development needs”, carried out high-profile visits and lobbied extensively to help the Maldives clinch Presidency at the UNGA.