Maldivian Speaker of Parliament and former President Mohamed Nasheed on Friday said that India has always respected Maldives' sovereignty and treated it as an equal. The former President lauded the Indian government saying that it has never happened that a project initiated by New Delhi had become a debt trap.
Speaking at the Ideas Conclave in Gujarat, Nasheed said that India's actions have ever been a threat to the Maldives or any of its neighbours.
"Many superpowers have risen, empires rise and fall and now we see India on the rise. As India rises and attains the status of a superpower. We do not see how India's actions have ever been a threat to the Maldives or any of its neighbours. India has always respected our sovereignty and always treated us as equals, however small we are," said Nasheed.
India-Maldives relations refer to a long time bilateral relations between both countries. This relationship has been friendly and close in strategic, economic and military cooperation. Almost all the Prime Ministers of India have visited the Maldives during their tenure. Furthermore, the former President heaped praises over the Indian government and said that Indian projects in the Maldives are transparent.
"The Maldives now has a democratic government and now with Indian assistance, it is all very different. Indian projects in the Maldives are transparent and everyone knows what is going on. Everybody knows the price of it. Indian projects tendered by the Government of India are transparent. It is very rare, it has almost never happened that any of these have become a debt trap. I like India rising," he said.
Maldives' Speaker of Parliament & Former President Mohamed Nasheed at India Ideas Conclave 2020 in Gujarat: We've another superpower coming to the Indian Ocean - China. Unfortunately, the manner in which this superpower is treating the Indian Ocean islands is very very different. https://t.co/nHxpZh2ccu— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2020
However, Nasheed voiced concerns over the rise of China in the Indian Ocean and said, "We've another superpower coming to the Indian Ocean - China. Unfortunately, the manner in which this superpower is treating the Indian Ocean islands is very, very different".
In a recent development, India and Maldives signed five memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on February 2, 2020. The objective of this MoU is to establish the Addu tourism zone on the five islands of Addu Atoll in the Maldives. High Commissioner of India Sunjay Sudhir, Addu City Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid signed this agreement.
India was one of the first countries to recognise the Maldives as an independent nation. India established its diplomatic mission in Male in 1972, the capital of Maldives.