Updated March 9th, 2024 at 14:10 IST

'We Lose More Sovereignty': Ex-Prez. Mohamed Nasheed Raises Alarm Against Maldives ties With China

While raising alarms against Maldives' growing ties with China, Ex-President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed urged the Muizzu administration to maintain precaution.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed at Republic Summit 2024 | Image:Republic
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Republic Summit 2024: Raising alarms against Maldives' growing relations with China, Former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed elucidated how China uses debt traps to influence smaller nations. While addressing the latest edition of the Republic Summit, Nasheed gave his take on the ongoing India-Maldives diplomatic row and the Muizzu administration's closeness with Beijing. During a one-on-one interaction with Republic TV's Niranjan Narayanaswamy, the Maldivian leader emphasised that the island nation should have a “stable foreign policy” and not keep swinging “from one side to another”.

In the mega event, Nasheed explained his stance on the matter by throwing light on how China influences countries by putting them in a debt trap. “China has given us a lot of loans to build infrastructure in our country. China intentionally raises the price of the project so that the business plan fails. When the plan fails, one can't pay back the loan,” Nasheed explained. “They ask for equity and with equity, we lose more sovereignty. Maldives has to be mindful of these Chinese loans,” he added.

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‘You can't divorce us from India': Nasheed 

During the interaction at the Republic Summit, Nasheed reiterated the significance of strong ties between India and Maldives. “You cannot marginalise the Maldives from India. Most of our doctors and teachers are Indians… Anti-India sentiment is not Maldives' sentiment. We watch the same films, eat the same food, and have similar cultures, we are united and are the same people. You can't divorce us from India,” the Maldivian leader averred. He went on to admit that the “Boycott Maldives" campaign has impacted the country's tourism in a significant way. 

While insisting that the majority of people in Maldives are friends of India, Nasheed insisted India has always helped Maldives and has never been a “bully”. “India has always come and helped us out and these are not actions of a bully. I want to see India rise. I strongly believe our safety and security are linked,” Nasheed said in the Thursday event. “India respected a small island nation Maldives. India spoke to the concerned people of Maldives and found ways how to handle it (the recent issue). These are actions of a responsible superpower,” he added. 

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The comments from the former president came days after the current President of Maldives Mohamed Muizzu accused India of being a “bully”.  “Though we have small islands in this ocean, we have a vast exclusive economic zone of 9,00,000 square kilometres. Maldives is one of the countries with the biggest share of this ocean. This ocean does not belong to a specific country. This ocean also belongs to all countries situated in it," the Maldivian President said in January, this year. However, the callous remarks from Muizzu attracted a sharp rebuttal from External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar. While dismissing the allegations the veteran diplomat noted that so-called “big bullies” don't provide USD 4.5 billion to neighbours when they are in “distress”.

India's biggest news summit- Republic Summit 2024, began with huge enthusiasm, on Thursday in Delhi. Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami inaugurated the Republic Summit 2024. The theme for this year's Summit is "Bharat: The Next Decade," with a focus on what India can do in the coming 10 years to make sure that the country achieves the dream of 'Viksit Bharat - A Developed India', before 2047.

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Published March 7th, 2024 at 18:18 IST