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Politicians slam Indian MP Swamy for "invade Maldives" tweet

Fathmath Shaahunaz
25 August 2018, MVT 12:55
Adhaalath Party's deputy leader Ali Zahir (R) and Makunudhoo MP Anaara Naeem speak at press conference. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
25 August 2018, MVT 12:55

Political entities of Maldives are strongly condemning the call by an Indian parliamentarian to "invade Maldives" should the upcoming Presidential Election involve any fraud.

A lawmaker of the upper house of the Indian Parliament 'Rajya Sabah' and member of ruling party BJP's national executive committee, Subramanian Swamy, had tweeted that "India should invade Maldives if rigging of election takes place", after he met with former President Mohamed Nasheed in Sri Lanka to discuss the political situation of the island nation last Wednesday.

Politicians both pro-government and opposition-aligned reacted strongly to the former union minister's proclamation, condemning his remarks.

In a statement, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party of the opposition coalition declared that Swamy's call to take over Maldives was unacceptable. Asserting that there would never be a situation that would justify an invasion, Adhaalath Party also noted that Swamy's statement conflicted with the longstanding friendly relations between the archipelago and its closest neighbour.

"We take this opportunity to further note that the Indian government in the past has on multiple occasions proven that it would never take any action that would upset the sovereignty and independence of the Maldives," the party added, highlighting the importance of India's support to establish a democratic environment in Maldives.

Adhaalath further stressed that maintaining strong diplomatic, economic and military relations with India is the most beneficial line of action for both nations, going on to blame President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's administration's foreign policy for compromising those ties.

In a similar tangent, the opposition coalition's running mate for the upcoming election, Kaashidhoo MP Faisal Naseem, also objected to Swamy's remarks.

Stating that Swamy's call to invade Maldives was "an irresponsible act", Naseem declared that the opposition openly rejected his statement.

"India will always be [the Maldives'] closest friend," he said in a tweet, expressing confidence that the Indian government would not compromise its friendship with the island nation.

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's 'Maumoon Reform Movement' (MRM) of the joint opposition also slated Swamy, stating that it was "definitely not India’s stand because the Government of India does not act in that manner. India has always stood by the people of the Maldives".

Another lawmaker that took to Twitter was retired military officer and current Hithadhoo Central MP Ibrahim Didi, who highlighted that such an invasion would violate international laws, and detailed the United Nation's policies on electoral issues.

Soon after Swamy's prickly tweet, Maldives' Minister of Defence and National Security Adam Shareef had also retaliated with a heated post on his personal Facebook page on Friday, stating that Maldives was capable of ensuring its own sovereignty and independence, and that the nation would not allow any external forces to meddle with its domestic affairs.

He declared that the Maldives would protect and ensure its sovereignty at any and all costs.

India has been expressing concerns over the situation in Maldives since the landmark ruling passed by the Supreme Court on February 1, in which the apex court ordered to free political prisoners and reinstate ousted legislators. India heavily criticised President Yameen;s administration for not following through with the verdict, and ties between the two South Asian neighbours have soured since then.

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