Put pressure on Male to protect Indian interests - The New Indian Express

Put pressure on Male to protect Indian interests

Published: 03rd December 2012 11:44 PM

Last Updated: 03rd December 2012 11:44 PM

Despite a Singapore High Court order staying cancellation of Maldives’ biggest foreign investment project for running an international airport by GMR infrastructure, the Maldives government has said that it will take control of the airport and its decision was irreversible and non-negotiable. “We will continue the airport takeover next Saturday onwards and the state-controlled Maldives Airport Company will be running the airport,” Maldives minister for defence and transport, Mohamed Nazim, told a press conference in the capital Male on Monday. Earlier in the day, GMR had obtained a stay order from the Singapore court, which has jurisdiction over disputes in the agreement signed by the government and the company.

The decision is bound to force the Government of India to review its relationship with Maldives at the highest level as the avowed anti-Indian sentiments of the ruling coalition leaders in Maldives could adversely affect its strategic interest in the region. New Delhi has a duty to safeguard Indian investment in Maldives and protect the interests of its citizens and their assets. It should be ready with proportional response to deal with any eventuality. The issue can no more be treated as a dispute between an Indian company and a foreign government.

Bilateral relation between Maldives and India have hit an all time low after the ouster of the country’s first democratically-elected government headed by Mohamed Nasheed. President Mohamed Waheed, who replaced Nasheed, has adopted an anti-Indian stance since then. India’s consul general in Maldives, D M Mulay, was attacked and Maldivian president’s spokesperson Adil Riza called him a ‘traitor’ and an ‘enemy’ of their country. India should not take all this lying down and adopt a tough stand. It should put all ongoing infrastructure projects it is carrying in Maldives on the backburner and freeze the $25 million annual budgetary commitment made to Male. President Waheed must be asked to stop political leaders in his coalition from airing anti-Indian sentiments.

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