Ex-AG contesting pres polls warns India against Maldives interference
He also spoke in favor of the opposition party's 'India Out' movement against Indian interference.
Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim
Noting that India's influence in the decision-making process of the Maldives is immense, former Attorney General Dr Mohamed Munawwar, who is contesting the presidential elections, on Sunday requested India to "not put hands down Maldivian throats".
After announcing that he would be contesting the presidential elections, he held a press conference at M. Dhimayaathuge on Sunday to discuss the matter.
Before opening up to questions from journalists, Munawwar first spoke about the reasons for his decision to run for power. One of the reasons is that Maldivians do not have the power to decide their own affairs as the current government is doing. He believes it is a problem because of India's influence.
Munawwar said he had no problem no matter how many Indian tourists and workers came to the country. We should give the country's investors whatever opportunities available, he said.
"There's only one problem. Don't put your hands down our throats. That's the only problem. It means don't interfere in deciding our internal affairs [or] the affairs of the country," Munawwar, who had earlier expressed concern over India's influence in the country.
Apparently the Indian ambassador gets in touch with Maldivians at the top levels of the government whenever he has a grievance. That shouldnt happen, should it? This is an independent state, after all.
He alleged that Maldivian ministers were summoned to the Indian High Commission every now and then. That's why he he was calling for an end to it.
"Through diplomatic channels, let the High Commission contact the Foreign Affairs and continue to do what is required to be done. There will be standards for embassies to follow in accordance with international norms. Don't go beyond it," Munawwar said.
Pointing out that since the 1960s, ships from different countries have always been harbouring in the Maldives before the new government came to power, Munawwar said that now those ships dont come to the Maldives, and raised questions as to why.
"As per information, these ships still come around, and seek permission [to dock the ship in the Maldives]. These people are not answering them. We assume that they write to the capital of another country asking for permission and they don't respond. Then these leaders [the government] can't answer the docking requests either," Munawwar said without naming India, but to show the extent of its influence.
Munawwar then levelled allegations against the Indian ambassador to the Maldives.
"Apparently the Indian ambassador gets in touch with Maldivians at the top levels of the government whenever he has a grievance. That shouldnt happen, should it? This is an independent state, after all," Munawwar said.
"There's no problem if their people are working or teaching here. Business relationships can be strengthened, other things could be done, but don't put [hands] down our throat."
He also spoke in favor of the opposition party's 'India Out' movement against Indian interference. He feels that such an agitation against a country is not a big issue.
"When a particular country gets targeted with ‘out’ slogans and become such an issue that legislature has to be made to put an end to it, then it shows just how serious the situation is. If not, it isn't a big issue, right?" asked Munawwar, referring to the president's resolution to stop the movement and the bill that has now been tabled in parliament.