Maldives on Saturday sought India’s cooperation in accessing new technologies and data-gathering to tackle climate change and said it was working with other countries to launch an “Asian Initiative” to mitigate global warming, which threatens to submerge the island.

Maldivian vice president Mohammaed Waheed Hassan said Asian countries should take a lead on seeking innovative and pragmatic solution to complement the implementation of UNFCCC processes in dealing with challenges related to climate change.

“As vulnerable countries to climate change, we feel we should take the initiative. You will soon hear about efforts from the Asian countries who will mobilise their own resources,” he said, delivering a talk on ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Transition to Justice’ here.

“We should pool in our resources and create a fund on our own without having to wait for developed countries to help,” he said. Mr. Hassan said the SAARC meeting in Bhutan in April will also focus on this important issue.

He said Maldives itself will move into a carbon-neutral country within a span 10 years as already announced by President Mohamed Nasheed.

Lauding India for cooperating with Maldives on climate change and other issues, Mr. Hassan said the island needs India’s help in accessing new technologies and data—gathering to tackle climate change.

“We also need their cooperation in renewable and new energy resources,” Mr. Hassan said.

Turning to other issues, he said there is a rising confusion in Islam over extremism and this is one of challenges being faced by the new democratic government of Maldives.

Appreciating the people of Maldives for ushering in democracy after decades of “autocratic rule”, Mr. Hassan said the government was planning to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission like the one established in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid.

“We are planning to set up a TRC. Lots of people were abused politically, emotionally and physically during the previous rule. They should get justice,” Mr. Hassan said.

“The government is in a dilemma. It is one of the challenges also how to meet the justified demand for retribution,” he said.

The TRC in South Africa was a quasi-judicial body.

Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings.

Mr. Hassan also sought cooperation from countries like India in education and other sectors.

Asked whether ‘new media’ can play a major role in opening up of societies in pre-dominantly Muslim countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia like it played in opening up Maldives, Mr. Hassan said, “Already, there are lots of debates going on in the new age media like internet” in controlled societies like China and Iran.

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