‘Apologise to PM Modi’: Maldives Opposition leader asks President Muizzu | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

‘Apologise to PM Modi’: Maldives Opposition leader asks President Muizzu

Jan 31, 2024 04:23 AM IST

The suggestion for President Muizzu comes amid a diplomatic tussle between Maldives and India over several issues.

Maldives' Jumhooree Party Leader Qasim Ibrahim has called on Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu to formally apologise to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "remarks after the China trip", ANI reported citing a local media report.

Maldives' president Mohammed Muizzu during an interview with AFP in Male.(AFP)
Maldives' president Mohammed Muizzu during an interview with AFP in Male.(AFP)

According to Maldivian radio station Voice of Maldives, Ibrahim cautioned against speaking in a way that affects the relationship, particularly with neighbouring countries.

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Watch: 'Say Sorry To India, Modi': Maldives Opposition's Big Demand As Muizzu's Impeachment Looms

"Regarding any country, especially a neighbouring one, we shouldn't speak in a way that affects the relationship. We have an obligation to our state that must be considered. President Solih did consider this obligation and issued a Presidential Decree banning the "India Out" campaign. Now, Yameen is questioning why Muizzu, who participated with him in the India Out Campaign, has not nullified the Presidential Decree," he was quoted as saying.

The Maldivian politician added, "The Decree should not be nullified, as it would only result in a loss to the nation. That cannot be done. I would tell Muizzu that it shouldn't be done. Also, I call on President Muizzu to formally apologise to the Indian government and Prime Minister Modi regarding his remarks after the China trip."

Also Read | Amid diplomatic row, what Maldives President Muizzu said on India's Republic Day

Last year, former Maldives President Ibrahim Solih signed a decree stating that the opposition's 'India Out' campaign is a "threat to national security". The decree allowed security agencies to take down campaign banners and provided constitutional cover to take action against opposition parties.

At the time the ‘India Out’ campaign was spearheaded by former president Abdulla Yameen of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), who claimed that the presence of Indian military officers in Maldives was a violation of the country's sovereignty.

The campaign particularly targeted President Solih and the Maldivian Democratic Party, both perceived as close to India.

Ibrahim's suggestion for President Muizzu comes amid a diplomatic tussle between Maldives and India over several issues.

Also Read | Maldives' main Opposition party to file impeachment motion against President Muizzu

The India-Maldives diplomatic row began with Muizzu demanding India withdraw its troops from the island nation within 24 hours of his swearing-in.

Muizzu's decision to visit Turkey after swearing in and breaking the tradition of making New Delhi the first international destination as a nod to India’s influence in the island nation also raised eyebrows.

The tension further escalated after unruly comments by three Maldivian ministers on social media against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he posted some pictures from his Lakshadweep visit.

The Maldives agreed earlier this week to allow a Chinese research vessel to dock at Male port against India’s apprehension about the Chinese navy's growing forays in the Indian Ocean.

The Maldives' proximity to India, barely 70 nautical miles from the island of Minicoy in Lakshadweep and 300 nautical miles from the mainland's western coast, and its location at the hub of commercial sea lanes running through the Indian Ocean Region gives it significant strategic importance.

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