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What is the ‘India Out’ Campaign In Maldives?

What is the 'India Out' Campaign In Maldives

Ground Report | New Delhi: What is the ‘India Out’ Campaign In Maldives; In the relations of any country with another country, where governments are important, so is the opposition. At the moment, everything is fine between Maldives and India at the governmental level, but the Maldivian opposition is strongly opposed to India.

Former Maldivian President Abdullah Yameen is leading an anti-India campaign. He demanded that “India’s presence in the Maldives should end now.”

The government is also concerned about the anti-India campaign in its country. The Maldivian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on December 19 stating that the government was also concerned about the hatred and lies being spread against India.

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Yameen’s new independence has implications not only for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in the Maldives in 2024 but also for wider Maldives-India relations. Just days after his release, the main opposition party, the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), encouraged by the acquittal of its leader, began issuing official statements using the phrase ‘India out’.

The former president had served as president for five years before his surprise defeat in the 2018 elections with Ibrahim Solih becoming the country’s new leader. During his tenure, the radical Yameen’s open preference for Saudi Arabia and China and his hostility towards India became part of a wider geopolitical battle between New Delhi and Beijing.

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What is the ‘India Out’ Campaign In Maldives

The campaign aims to remove Indian military personnel and equipment from the Maldives. The campaign was launched in 2018. At the time, Maldives President Abdullah Yameen had asked India to take two of its helicopters and a Dornier aircraft from there.

The helicopter and the aircraft were kept by India for rescue operations in the Maldives. The Maldives had said that if India had given these gifts, then the pilots should be from the Maldives and not from India. The issue escalated to the point where people started protesting in the streets.

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The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and its allies say Indian troops should leave the Maldives. Lubna Zahir, a former Maldivian minister, tweeted on December 6 that “I like Indian dishes, products, medicines but not Indian soldiers on my land.”

Domestic political context

The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is beset by internal fractures that are more visible than before, raising concerns about how the party will perform in the upcoming elections. Dr. Gulbin Sultana, a research analyst at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, points out that it is important to remember that Solih did not win the last election on his own – he was the candidate of a coalition supported by other parties.

The internal fractures in the MDP are mainly the result of disagreements between President Solih and former President Mohamed Nasheed, with the latter seeking a change of government system from the president to the parliamentary, which Solih does not want. Dr. Sultana says earlier this year Nasheed asked Solih to work towards implementing the change, which Solih refused, saying her priority was to fulfill the election agenda.

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“Solih’s coalition partners do not agree with Nasheed. They want to continue with the existing system. Solih is not saying that he will not support the parliamentary system, but he is of the view that it is the will of the people, which he cannot arbitrarily create as president.

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