Tuesday, November 28, 2023

China-backed former president intensifies ‘India Out’ campaign in Maldives

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Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen is spearheading an anti-India campaign in the island nation. The campaign seeks the expulsion of an alleged “Indian military presence” in the Maldives. Malé has already denied claims of any such military presence in the archipelago. Notably, earlier this month, the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force partook in the joint military exercise, Exercise Ekuverin, in the Maldives.

Yameen, whose five-year prison sentence over money laundering charges was revoked by the Supreme Court of Maldives in November, is well known for his pro-China political stance. In 2018, India condemned the crackdown on political opponents by Yameen’s China-backed government in Maldives during a state of emergency. Moreover, appeals for an Indian military intervention by Abdulla Yameen’s rivals sent his regime into a panic mode.

In an apparent reference to the ‘India Out’ campaign led by Abdulla Yameen’s Progressive Party of Maldives, the Maldivian government on Saturday expressed its concern over the attempts on spreading false information regarding ties with India. The statement said, “The Government of Maldives is profoundly concerned by the attempts to spread misguided and unsubstantiated information to propagate hatred towards India, one of the closest bilateral partners of the Maldives by a small group of individuals and a few political personalities.”

President Solih-led Maldivian government also said that false allegations regarding bilateral ties “tarnishes the relations with trusted allies who extends consistent support to the Maldivian people.”

Earlier this year, a report by the Colombo Information Agency warned about an information war waged against India to generate anti-India sentiments in Maldivians. The information was unearthed following extensive analysis of the ‘#IndiaOut’ hashtag in the Maldivian social media space since 2019.

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