NEW DELHI: Indian investments in politically troubled island nation of the Maldives are safe, the country's envoy to India said Friday. "All investments and people are safe, it is our first priority to make Maldives the preferred destination for Indian investment. From our side we have all the safeguards, all the policies for making business more enterprising for India in the Maldives," High Commissioner to India Abdul Azeez Yoosuf told IANS on the sidelines of an event here.
"India is our very strong (economic) partner... they exist in all the areas in our life. We are entirely dependent on India for all our essential items like rice, sugar, white goods. We benefit immensely from India." The envoy, however, declined to divulge any detail about the on-going political developments in the island country.
Major Indian companies like the Tata Group through their hospitality brand Taj Hotels and infrastructure giant GMR group have invested hugely in the Maldives. The crisis in the Maldives began earlier this month as widespread demonstrations erupted against President Mohamed Nasheed, leading to him resigning Feb 7. The former president, who claims he was forced to reign, Friday took to streets to protest his ouster even as India sent a special envoy to meet key political figures in the archipelago nation to push for a political deal on forming a broad-based national government of unity.
Nasheed threatens to hit streets in the Maldives
MALE: The Maldives' ousted president Mohamed Nasheed said Friday that his party would hit the streets and demonstrate in the absence of international support but "we cannot join this government as we believe it is illegal".
Nasheed resigned Tuesday morning on the national TV after prolonged protests over detention of a top judge and was replaced by his vice president Mohamed Waheed. The resignation was tendered under the threat of a gun, Nasheed later said and described the change-over as a "coup".
On Friday, Nasheed said that "the coup was financed by resort owners," and thought it was effected because of the "old order of corruption." Addressing a press conference at his home Friday evening, Nasheed said his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) would not join the national unity government mooted by his successor Waheed.
Nasheed said he was not depending on the international community to bring fresh elections to the Maldives, but rather the party was relying on the people to do this. "In the absence of international support, we will have to go back to the streets and demonstrate," he said.
Stating that he was "sure there will be riots on the streets" if he was arrested, Nasheed said he was confident of being reinstated soon. He said the opposition had been "only able to gather 300 to 400 people" in its protests last month. "I believe that what the people of this country want is clear from what is happening on the streets." Claiming to have been aware for some time about his former deputy Waheed meeting with opposition leaders in his home and in the last month, Nasheed said "it was obvious" that Waheed had leanings towards the opposition. Having met with Indian High Commissioner D.M. Muley before he held the press conference, Nasheed said: "I'm sure India with its ideals and policies will find the most amicable set of policies in the Maldives."
As the US Friday recognised the new government under Waheed, the ousted president said that many powers were "still living with Cold War politics". He denied having met any UN delegation.