‘Stop being stubborn’: Maldives ex-president tells Mohamed Muizzu amid strained India ties

Former Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih criticised his successor Mohamed Muizzu amid strained ties with India, advising him to “stop being stubborn”. Solih further urged Muizzu to fix the relations with India amid the financial challenges faced by Maldives.

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu. (File)(HT_PRINT)

Local media outlets quote Solih as saying: “However, I am confident that our neighbours will help. We must stop being stubborn and seek dialogue. There are many parties that can help us. But he [Muizzu] doesn’t want to compromise. I feel they [the government] are starting to understand the situation only now.”

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The former president said the government was deceiving the public and relaunching projects initiated by the MDP government. He said ministers are now lying to cover up those lies.

These remarks by Ibrahim Mohamed Solih come shortly after Muizzu, who has been viewed as a pro-China leader, asked India to provide debt relief for Maldives as the country is struggling financially to keep its economy afloat.

While speaking at an event in Male, former President Solih said that Maldives has a debt of MVR 18 billion owed to China compared to MVR 8 billion owed to India, with the repayment period being 25 years. He further pointed out that the financial challenges are not caused by Indian loans.

Muizzu’s stance on relations with India

Mohamed Muizzu criticised India during and after the presidential election campaign and relations between the two countries have deteriorated since he assumed office in November. The relations worsened when several ministers from his cabinet made objectionable comments about Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his ‘Chalo Lakshadweep’ campaign.

The Maldives president demanded the complete withdrawal of 88 Indian military personnel manning three aviation platforms used for humanitarian and medical evacuations in the Maldives by May 10. The first batch of 26 Indian military personnel have already left the island nation and were replaced by civilians.

However in a recent media interview, Muizzu said that he has not made any comments or taken any actions to strain the relations between the two countries. India will continue to remain the Maldives’ closest ally, he emphasised.

(With inputs from PTI)

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