MP Aslam: Nothing risky in the agreements, only ‘India Out’ campaign is risky

Parliament's Security Services Committee chair, North Hithadhoo MP Mohamed Aslam. (Photo/People's Majilis)

Chairperson of Parliament’s Committee on National Security Services (241 Committee), North Hithadhoo MP Mohamed Aslam has described the ‘India Out’ campaign being carried out against India as one that could diminish the Maldivian people.

In an interview given to PSM last night, Aslam said that the Uthuru Thila Falhu agreement made in 2016, and the current agreement are extremely different. He added that back then, it was formulated so that the premise can be developed as a place similar to that of a military base.

“Back then, it was planned that a runway will be built on the whole premise, like a runway used in a military base. Equipment used in a military-based was also to be established,” he had said.

Noting that this plan was not bad either – Aslam said that as per the current plan, a dockyard and fewer equipment would be developed at Uthuru Thila Falhu. He added that a smaller area from Uthuru Thila Falhu will be used as per the current plan, contrary to the previous plan.

Speaking further, Aslam said that there were no provisions which could threaten the national security of Maldives in the agreement, or letter of exchange, signed between India and Maldives.

He also noted that the current agreement which is being followed was drawn up during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom’s administration, and not in President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration.

Stressing again that agreements would not threaten the independence and the sovereignty of the country – Aslam said that even the Maldivian history shows no indication of India threating Maldives’ independence.

Noting the abundance of assistance rendered by India – Aslam said that the ‘India Out’ campaign is run on misinformation, by a group of people for undue political advantage.

“A country that has assisted us so much, and that we are close to. As I see it, calling ‘India Out’ without a reason, without a proper basis, is more dangerous for us, and that it is we who will be outed,” he had said.

In this regard, Aslam said that such campaigns could result in Maldives being deprived of India's assistance. He added that such things should not be done even to gain political advantage.

A case was submitted to the Parliament’s Committee on National Security Services (241 Committee) to review the agreements made between the Government of Maldives and India. Following their probe into the case, the Committee also declared that there were no alarming provisions. The report formulated by the Committee subsequent to their probe was passed by the Parliament as well.

During the Committee’s probe, they had reviewed three agreements that were made with India. They include the hydrography agreement made regarding the drawing the charts of the ocean, the agreement regarding the operations of dornier aircraft donated to Maldives by India and the agreement made between the Maldivian and Indian military to develop Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) base.

In the report formulated by the Committee following their probe, they said to have taken no note of any provisions which may threaten the independence and the sovereignty of Maldives in the agreements – adding that if the provisions in the agreements are fully implemented, it would be extremely beneficial to Maldives and its people.