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Maldives President asserts–declares anti-India campaign launched by rival as illegal

narendra Modi and Ibrahim Mohammed Solih (File Picture).

President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih of Maldives issued a decree on Thursday, calling the “India Out” campaign launched by various groups as illegal and a threat to national security of the country.

According to Avas News of Maldives,  the presidential decree was issued after the National Security Council had decided that the India Out movement was detrimental to national security.

The decree, titled “Stopping Campaigns that Incite Hatred Against Various Countries Under Different Slogans”, makes specific mention of the “India Out” protests as an organised campaign that aims to disrupt relations between the two countries and efforts to maintain peace and security in the region by inciting unrest.

“The campaign would negatively impact the age-old friendship between Maldives and India and regional security and stability. It also said the campaign violated all international treaties. The movement could result in the Maldives being isolated from the international area and affect bilateral relations with other countries while also causing threats to the country's independence and sovereignty” said the Presidential decree.

South Asia Diary | 'India Out' campaign in the Maldives – YouTube

President Solih has ordered all relevant authorities to implement the decree strictly by taking steps under available provisions of the law. He further said that the campaign was affecting the peace, harmony and even sovereignty of the country while the Maldivian domestic affairs were depleting gradually.

According to Maldives media, the decree also mentioned that the state has a duty to ensure the security of diplomats posted to the country and diplomatic missions. Some months ago, following threats to Indian diplomats and the mission over social media as the campaign gathered momentum, the Indian mission had requested additional security, which the Solih government provided.

“India Out”, a slogan coined two years ago by the former president of the country Abdulla Yameen who was jailed on corruption charges.

Known for Chinese “stooge” Yameen wants to cancel defence deals signed with India, with which Maldives shares decades of close and friendly ties. During his term, he made Maldives a part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). After losing power in 2018, Yameen was sentenced to five years in jail and fined $5 million in 2019 for embezzling $1 million in state funds, allegedly acquired through the lease of resort development rights.

According to Maldives watchers, Yameen is attempting to come back into mainstream politics on his anti-India campaign on the behest of China. China provided a loan of little over a billion dollars to the Maldives to help build a bridge and an airport, among other projects.

However, after Solih's government won power, it accused Yameen of putting the country in a debt trap with China.

Solih's "India First" strategy, reflects simple geographic truth. The Maldives' closest ally and protector has historically been India. Solih's "India First" strategy, at the very least, reflects simple geographic truth. India has recently adopted a more robust  approach to establish its role as a "net security provider," emphasising the benefits it can bring to smaller countries.

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