Asserting that Maldives throwing out the Male airport operator, Indian multinational company GMR, had not affected India-Maldives ties, President Mohamed Waheed said he had tried his best to avert the awkward situation.
“I really want to assure you that we tried as much as we could under the circumstances. It just did not happen. But this should not be taken as change of policies or any lessening of our will to continue to work with foreign investors, especially from India,” he told The-Hindu in his first interview ever since the government’s differences with GMR came out in the open.
Dr.Waheed said that he was grateful to both the GMR and the Indian government for the professional manner in which the issue was handled. “I think the government of India has been very supportive. We have been having almost daily communication with senior officials of the government in India to brief them on how things were developing. Of course, we were always told to renegotiate… You see, we tried… this is why it took so long. I tried very hard. But initially GMR itself was very stubborn. They were not flexible at all. By the time they started saying okay, we can talk, it was already late, too late. That’s what happened.”
Soon after Dr. Waheed assumed office on February 7, he had responded to a question posed by TheHindu on Indian investments and had assured their protection. In August this year, asked about the GMR issue, Dr.Waheed had stated that the government and GMR were trying to work things out. “I sincerely want to be able to protect all foreign investment. In this particular case, the contract was biased, and so improperly done there was nothing I could do to help,” he said.