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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

World

Sinking Maldives would like to buy land in India
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Toronto, September 13, 2011
First Published: 00:51 IST(13/9/2011)
Last Updated: 00:54 IST(13/9/2011)

Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed is trying to prevent his island nation from going underwater, literally, due to climate change, but if that doomsday scenario does play out, among the options seriously being considered by his government is relocation of some of the country's population to India.

In an interview, President Nasheed said, "We have to have a kitty saved for a rainy day. That might mean some of the people, whoever wants to get relocated, to be able to go somewhere. I think any responsible Maldives government should be thinking along these tracks."

This has been mentioned to India. As he said, "We haven't had an official discussion on that but I've always been mentioning to Indian officials that it's important that we are able to buy land in India, it's important we are able to have easy access to India, so that these eventualities can be covered."

President Nasheed doesn't want that eventuality to occur, so he has undertaken a high-profile campaign on the issue. As part of the effort, he walked the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival or TIFF premiere of the documentary, The Island President.

As the name suggests, the film, directed by Jon Shenk, has President Nasheed as the central character. But for the President, the agenda went beyond just that since the film also focuses on the peril faced by his nation from possible global warming leading to rising levels of the Indian Ocean, causing submergence of large parts of the Maldives. The tiny South Asian nation consists of about 1,200 coral islands, with an average elevation of just 1.5 metre.

Among the countries he's relying upon heavily for support is India. Among the first shots of the film features Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


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