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Opposition unable to 'stomach' strengthening Maldives-India relations: Foreign Minister

Ahmed Aiham
15 September 2020, MVT 12:39
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid during a virtual conference. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Ahmed Aiham
15 September 2020, MVT 12:39

Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, on Monday, stated that Maldives' strengthening bilateral ties with India were being criticised by those that are "unable to stomach" development.

Speaking at the virtual inauguration ceremony of the Kolhufushi streetlights project, Minister Shahid hailed the close "special" relations between the two South Asian neighbours.

"This connection is with the people of the two countries. A connection indicating a heart-to-heart relationship. We acknowledge that", said the minister.

"Those unable to accept it are people that became disheartened after witnessing the development projects of this administration", he said, seemingly referring to the opposition parties.

He further noted India's major involvement in both small-scale and large-scale development projects of the nation.

Although the world is facing various shutdowns across industries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Shahid highlighted India's continual support in contributing towards the island nation's development.

In addition to ongoing initiatives, the country's top diplomat also shed light on upcoming and scheduled projects, declaring that the oncology hospital to be built on reclaimed suburb Hulhumale' would commence by the end of the year.

The minister also declared that Maldives' largest project, the 'Greater Male' Connectivity Project' is scheduled to begin in the near future.

"India will always aid Maldives in infrastructural development, human resources and democracy", Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had affirmed last year.

The government's usage of the rhetoric to describe critics of Maldives-India ties is in line with the former administration of Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's similar responses to staunch criticism against Maldives' bilateral relations with China, which saw a significant boost during his presidency.

The current opposition forces continue to voice concerns over President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's administration "selling off Maldives", claiming a threat against the country's sovereignty amid growing ties with neighbouring India.