International

Former Maldives President opposes ‘pro-China’ tilt

Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed with British lawyer Amal Clooney in London on Monday.

Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed with British lawyer Amal Clooney in London on Monday.  

Mohamed Nasheed, the former President of the Maldives, on Monday warned his country’s leadership against abandoning traditional allies in the Indian Ocean and building a foreign policy “that would alienate or disturb Indian security and safety.”

Mr. Nasheed, who has been allowed under international pressure to seek treatment here, feared the present ‘pro-China tilt’ would lead to instability in the region.

Mr. Nasheed said he had not yet decided whether to return to the Maldives at a press conference on Monday in London, where he has travelled for medical treatment.

When asked if he would return to the Maldives, Mr. Nasheed said: “It is a fluid situation”. “I need to meet people, consult with lawyers and doctors.” He emphasised that he will go back, adding, “the question is how and when”.

Mr. Nasheed stressed that an “India-first” foreign policy approach “is probably the only sensible foreign policy view that we should have in the Indian Ocean”.

India is the principal trading partner with the Maldives, he said, and all governments have had close and friendly relations with India. He made a specific reference, in this context, to the close economic ties established by the Yameen regime with China. Seventy per cent of the Maldives’ debt is now exposed to China, he said. “The Indian government is very well aware of the situation in the Maldives,” Mr. Nasheed added. “We have very close contacts and conversations with the present government, and I believe that the Indian government is working hard to see that the situation in the Maldives is restrained and normalised.”

The former president called upon the international community to act to restore democracy in the Maldives. Mr. Nasheed and his lawyers have been pressing governments to impose sanctions on those individuals who have been responsible for “gross human rights excesses” in the country.

Meanwhile, the Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon on Monday criticised Mr. Nasheed for exploiting the terms of a 30-day medical release to embark on a lobbying and media campaign abroad.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 7:43:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Former-Maldives-President-opposes-%E2%80%98pro-China%E2%80%99-tilt/article14019637.ece

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