The Speaker of the Maldivian parliament has spoken in a manner labeling participants of the “India Out!” protests in the Maldives as extremists.
During protests held recently, participants called for the departure of Indian army personnel in the Maldives. The Defense Ministry has even up until today, has refused to disclose the exact number of Indian military personnel in the nation, citing national security concerns and diplomatic ties that may be disrupted. Public concern have also been expressed over two helicopters operated by Indian army personnel as well as the recent donation of a Dornier aircraft.
During a press conference in the Parliament last night, Speaker Nasheed reiterated his previous description of the “India Out” campaign as being formed by extremist organizations.
He said that intelligence communities across the globe were well aware of how organizations such as ISIS operated and that the first move they make in order to take over a nation was to sideline that nation from the rest of the international community.
Nasheed also claimed without evidence that the social media tagline of #Indiaout was being used predominantly by foreigners.
“We will be isolated from the international community, if India goes out, if another goes out, and if another goes out. We can clearly see from that work, for instance, take a look at the users of the #indiaout tagline on social media, just who they are…how many followers they have on Twitter. Most of the time, they call for #indiaout on the day the account is created. So, I can’t see it as a movement mainly carried on by Maldivians.” Said Nasheed.
A reporter then pointed out that protests were held in Male’ City by members of the movement, who again called for “India Out”.
Nasheed then quickly responded by saying that he cannot see the campaign as anything other than being led by extremists.
“You just pointed out that youths took part in it (protests). 250 youths also traveled to join ISIS on the battlefield. They were also recruited by those same youth. Just think about how it happened. 250 Maldivians traveled for something not permitted in the Maldives with no interest of the state, to die in a war in another nation. I cannot see anyone else worried about close relations between Maldives and India or the Indian army.” Said Nasheed.
Nasheed said that he was also residing in the Maldives and that he had not noticed any such feelings by Maldivians towards the relations with India. He added that he did not believe that political parties were part of the “extremist led” India Out campaign before advising any parties from taking part.
Nasheed during the press conference also said that it was a characteristic of developed nations to have military personnel of other nations.
His statement comes after concerns were poured out by the public regarding Indian military presence in the Maldives.
A journalist questioned Nasheed whether he believed that the Defense Ministry should reveal the number of Indian military personnel in the Maldives to which Nasheed refrained from giving a direct answer.
He said that the public would want to know the number of Indian army members and everything related to it.
“However, does any nation know how many of them are there in another nation?” said Nasheed.
Nasheed said that training exercises under agreements and exercises where permissions were obtained have always been conducted between nations.
Nasheed also seemingly dismissed the idea of Indian army personnel in the Maldives as not an issue.
“Please, let's take Japan for an example. Japan is independent? Germany is independent? Both of these nations and almost all other developed European nations have the military of another nation.” Said Nasheed who added that the world was intertwined and the participation of many nations was needed to resolve things peacefully and justly.
Nasheed said that the Maldivian government was focused on ensuring the safety of the Indian Ocean which was a joint effort of India, Japan, the UK, Australia, and the USA.