Nasheed: We should afford India respect at all times

Then-President-Elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu meets with then-Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed on October 3, 2023. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Former president Mohamed Nasheed, underscoring Maldives should always afford India respect at all times, has remarked that the nation will suffer if our leaders lack foresight.

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has undertaken significant steps to cut down Maldives’ dependency on India such as opting to acquire staple foods from nations other than India and expanding Aasandha coverage for countries other than India and Sri Lanka.

Nasheed, who is presently on a hiatus on politics in a post on X on Thursday, said Maldivians have achieved self-rule for centuries because we are tactful and strategic, rather than the use of brute strength.

He stressed that the Maldivian nation would suffer if its leaders lack foresight and opt for force.

“India is our neighbor and friend. We should afford India respect at all times,” he added.

The remarks also come after President Muizzu’s formal request from the Indian government to withdraw its military troops based in the Maldives before March 15th.

Prior to this, Malsha Shareef, Mariyam Shiuna and Abdulla Mahzoom Majid – three deputy ministers at the Youth Ministry – had made derogatory remarks against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media platform X, in response to a video promoting tourism in Lakshadweep. They have since been suspended. 

The Maldivian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the opinions were personal, and do not represent the views of the Maldivian government. The same had also been conveyed to Indian High Commissioner Munu Muhawar at the meeting, after he was summoned by the Maldives’ Foreign Ministry.

Nasheed has always maintained close relations with India. During his administration, Nasheed had awarded the operations of Maldives’ main airport, Velana International Airport (VIA) to India’s GMR; a decision that he is still critiqued over.