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Friday, April 12 2024
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Maldives President Asserts Independence Amid India Dispute

Maldives President
Photo Credit : Google

Beijing/Male: After concluding a high-profile state visit to China, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu asserted his country’s resilience, stating that its size does not give others the right to bully it. The President’s comments follow a diplomatic dispute with India over derogatory social media posts by three Maldivian ministers directed at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Muizzu, known for his pro-China stance, refrained from explicitly naming any country during his remarks to the media upon returning from China. Emphasizing the vast exclusive economic zone of 900,000 square km that Maldives possesses, he asserted that the Indian Ocean belongs to all countries within it and not to any specific nation. He added, “We aren’t in anyone’s backyard. We are an independent and sovereign state.”

During his visit to China, President Muizzu signed 20 agreements with President Xi Jinping, and the joint statement highlighted mutual support for core interests without specifying any particular country. China pledged USD 130 million in assistance, primarily allocated for the redevelopment of roads in the capital city, Male.

The President’s visit to China was clouded by the diplomatic spat with India and the release of a report by the EU Election Observation Mission implicating the ruling coalition in deploying anti-India sentiments during the 2023 presidential elections. Despite these challenges, China’s Ambassador to Maldives, Wang Lixin, emphasized three key factors contributing to strong relations: mutual political trust, alignment with President Xi’s initiatives, and adherence to the principle of extensive consultation, joint construction, and shared benefits.

As part of the agreements signed during the visit, China will support the development of an integrated tourism zone in Hulhumale’, construct 30,000 social housing units in Rasmale’, and contribute to the development of a 100-bed tertiary hospital in Vilimale’. The two countries also inked an agreement permitting Maldives’ national airline, Maldivian, to operate domestic flights in China.

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