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Foreign military bases will not be established in Maldives: Minister Shahid

26 November 2018, MVT 20:49
The Indian helicopter used to carry a patient from Ungoofaaru, Raa Atoll. PHOTO: INDIAN HIGH COMMISSION
26 November 2018, MVT 20:49

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Shahid stated that Maldivan territory would not be used for the establishment of any foreign military bases.

In an exclusive interview given to 'Strategic News International' (SNI), Shahid said that the current government has no plans to open doors for a foreign military base in the Maldives.

“We do not wish to get stuck in an international crisis as we have to address much larger issues locally,” said Shahid. “We hope to address the development of our economy for those who are struggling most with building a better future.”

According to Shahid, under the direction of President Solih, the current government will focus on the nation's housing crisis, improving health care and education.

During the regime of former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, India seemingly accused Maldives of paving the way for China to establish a military base in the Indian Ocean. At the time, however, Indian media outlets attempted to spread false information to the public.

The foreign minister was also questioned on whether Maldives was vulnerable enough to give in to possible demands of military presence after falling into China’s ‘debt-trap’. Shahid, however, responded that the new administration had already predicted possible dangers brought forward by China's debt-trap diplomacy stating that they were prepared to avoid any chance of that happening.

“We will prevent it from happening and we will find a way to solve this issue. We are prepared to discuss this issue with China if that happens to be the case,” he said.

Further, Shahid expressed that his trust in the Chinese government and was confident that the country would not take such drastic measures against Maldives.

The opposition forces, however, suggest that the two helicopters donated by the Indian government and the army officers in charge of operating them served as evidence of Indian military activity. In response, Shahid stated that the Maldivian army hoped to corporate with the existing Indian troops in the country in the near future, to turn the base into a joint operation.

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