Maldives Foreign Minister Abdul Samad Abdullah has said his government is committed to the safety of 23,000 Indian expatriates based in the country during talks between the two nations, Sandeep Dikshit writes for The Hindu newspaper.
Mr. Abdullah, speaking to The Hindu at a time when the Maldives is in the middle of a political stalemate of sorts, called upon strategic analysts not to drag his country into their vision of an India-China rivalry playing out in the Indian Ocean, because “we are too small.”
The Minister also spoke of anti-corruption investigations into the money spent for the SAARC summit, the emptying of the Central Exchequer and liberal grant of islands which were subsequently sold to foreigners, all of which took place during the previous President Mohd. Nasheed’s watch and could inflame political acrimony between his Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) and the others who have formed a unity government.
Mr. Abdullah gave the interview after meeting External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and discussing the situation in his country with senior MEA officials. India has helped shore up Maldives foreign reserves and extended an agreement to supply essentials like pulses, vegetables and rice.
It is also insisting that the warring parties settle their differences, preferably through polls towards the end of this year.
Mr. Nasheed, who now says he didn’t want to resign but was coerced into demitting office in February, is making efforts to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but there has been no word so far from the PMO.
“There are 23,000 Indians in the Maldives including doctors, teachers and nurses. They have been of tremendous help and obviously we will continue to have security arrangements,” Mr. Abdullah said, pointing out that after Mr. Nasheed ‘resigned’ as President in February, the government did not change in technical terms. “It was just a change of the President. The policies of the government by and large towards international relations will continue as before.”