PPM will address Maldives’ strained relationship with India: Gayoom

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has pledged during a visit to India that the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) will repair strained relations between the two countries should it come to power in September, local media has reported.

The three day visit, which concluded Thursday (June 6), saw the former president meet with dignitaries including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss bilateral relations and the impact of the Maldives government’s decision to last year cancel a US$511 million airport deal with India-based infrastructure giant GMR.

In interviews with Indian media, Gayoom expressed sadness that the Maldives’ relationship with India had been impacted by President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s administration deciding to evict GMR from the country with seven days notice.

Gayoom blamed Nasheed for not obtaining parliamentary approval and “consulting all political parties” before signing the deal with the GMR-Malaysian Airports consortium.

“This was a mistake. Had he consulted all political parties, the public would not have formed the impression that corruption had taken place. Then we told the next President Mr Waheed that he should hold discussions with the GMR Group and the Indian government to arrive at an acceptable solution, after which the government was free to act on its own. Unfortunately, this was not done and suddenly there was this unhappy ending,” Gayoom was reported as saying in the Hindu.

Waheed’s government late last year declared the contract between GMR and the Nasheed government, which was vetted by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), as ‘void ad initio’, or invalid from the outset. It is currently disputing its obligation to compensate the company in arbitration proceedings, arguing that the termination clause could not be applied to a contract it had deemed invalid.

Gayoom told Indian media that former President Mohamed Nasheed – whose government was controversially replaced in February last year – had to take the majority of blame for the GMR contract dispute, despite not being in office at the time of its cancellation.

“The GMR experience was not a very good one for us. It began badly with [Nasheed] not informing parliament,” Gayoom was reported as saying in the Indian Express.

“By law, he should have had it passed by parliament. Some may even say it had an illegal beginning. [The cancellation] was a very populist move at the time as the public had a perception that the contract was bad for the country. The way it was handled was not good. I am sad that this has somehow affected our bilateral relations. We want to overcome that and restore our relationship with India to its former level,” Gayoom told the paper.

The government’s sudden eviction of the Indian investor did not however appear on a list of 11 grievances handed to all senior Maldivian reporters by the Indian High Commission in January, which instead included concerns such as discrimination against Indian expatriates and the confiscation of passports by Maldivian employers.

The list’s release was followed by the Indian High Commission issuing a statement in early February slamming local media in the Maldives for “misrepresentation and twisting of issues”.

Gayoom nonetheless told the Hindustan Times publication this week that he would endeavor to maintain strong bilateral relations with India, claiming that people who were “anti-GMR” were not “anti-India”.

The PPM is presently part of the coalition government backing President Waheed, whom Gayoom said had been requested to find an “acceptable solution” for both GMR and the Indian government that addressed concerns about the airport deal.

Fierce criticism

Among the most fierce critics of the GMR airport deal before its cancellation last year were the now government-aligned Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP ), led by President Waheed’s Special Advisor Dr Hassan Saeed.

Saeed in November last year appealed to Prime Minister Singh to terminate the GMR deal, writing that “GMR and India ‘bashing’ is becoming popular politics”.

While in opposition in December 2011, the DQP also released a 24 page pamphlet alleging that allowing GMR to develop Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) was “paving the way for the enslavement of Maldivians in our beloved land”, and warning that “Indian people are especially devious”.

Former Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, the DQP’s Deputy Leader at the time of the pamphlet’s publication, was recently unveiled as the running mate of PPM Presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen – Gayoom’s half brother.

SOFA a concern: Gayoom

Gayoom – described in the Hindu as a “sprightly 76 year-old” – also expressed concern about the Status of Forces (SOFA) agreement being negotiated between Waheed’s government and the United States.

“I am not happy. I didn’t want that to happen,” he said, warning that such a move risked upsetting the balance of power in the Indian Ocean.

A source within the PPM said former President Gayoom, during his 30 years as head of state had forged strong relations with various regional powers such as India and Sri Lanka.

The source said that while the handling of the GMR contract remained a controversial issue, the recent strain in the relationship between India and the Maldives was the result of a number of factors, including “certain difficulties” facing expatriate workers from India living in the country.

“We have a large number of professional expatriates from India working here in health, education and accountancy. The [Indian] embassy here in Male’ has aired some of the issues with us,” the party source claimed, adding that the Maldives also had grievances over obtaining visas to travel to India that needed to be resolved.

The party official claimed that Indian authorities had raised these issues not only with the PPM, but all other stakeholders both in government and the country’s political opposition, presently represented by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Highs and lows

Despite admitting that every country has high and lows in their bilateral relations with neighbours, Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives Rajeev Shahare has previously emphasised what he called the country’s “unshakable” long-standing relationship with the Maldives.

“During my tenure, I will endeavour to further strengthen the relationship between India and the Maldives, which is already very strong with an unshakable foundation,” he said on April 10, shortly after his appointment.


15 thoughts on “PPM will address Maldives’ strained relationship with India: Gayoom”

  1. The 100 percent Islamic Dhivehistanis thinks of Hindustanis as cow-worshipping fools who pray to stones. Hinduism is associating partners with Holy Allah - the unforgivable sin. To make things worse Hindustan is a secular country which recently decriminalised homosexuality. Gay-yoom's brother Abdulla Yameen says that "we are also shocked when countries legalise gay sex" when told that his refusal to grant religious freedom to Dhivehistan was shocking. So why should Moslem Dhivehistanis ever have strong relationships with these idolators? We should gang up with Pakistan and conquer India like Mahmud of Ghazni. Destroy their temples! Burn their towns! Slay their men and take their women captive! Allah akbar!

  2. Holy Krishna, our relations with the Maldives is 'strained'.....whatever shall we cow worshippers do now?.....will our fast growing economy suddenly go 'phut'?
    When will you retards realise that in the political arena you are non entities.....you don't even show up on Google Earth unless I use mega zoom on my ipad.
    Your politicians should stick to 'state visits' to 'Palestine' and other important countries like Somalia, North Korea and Zimbabwe.
    Right Kuribee?

  3. @miss india nd is right. Maldives is a tiny country that is now messed up, a characteristic that is more familiar with india.

    Sure, india is big but not better organized ...

  4. @MissIndia NewDelhi

    India Maldives

    GNP per capita $3900 $8700
    HDI world ranking 136th 104th
    Life expectancy 65.8 years 77.1years
    Poverty 0.283 0.018
    Sustainability 1.5 3.0
    Gender Inequality 0.61 0.35
    Literacy rate 62.8% 98.4%

    Source: hdrstats.undp.org (2013 stats)

    So above u can see the qualities of the super power that miss india is screaming here about everyday compared to the poor poor Maldives..

  5. To make it a bit more clearer

    India - Maldives
    GNP per capita $3900 - $8700
    HDI world ranking 136th - 104th
    Life expectancy 65.8 years - 77.1years
    Poverty 0.283 - 0.018
    Sustainability 1.5 - 3.0
    Gender Inequality 0.61 - 0.35
    Literacy rate 62.8% - 98.4%

  6. @ Ann
    I had to laugh out loud at your comparisons.....the proverbial Elephant versus Ant
    India --------------- Maldives
    Secular Democracy --- 100% intolerant muslims
    Multifaith society --- All 'kuffars' must be beheaded
    Politically stable --- Unstable and chaotic
    Modern legal system --- Still flogging women
    Past is cherished --- Destroy anything deemed 'unislamic'
    Fast growing economy --- Bankrupt economy
    Low crime rate --- High crime rate
    Low drug addiction --- Out of control drug addiction
    No shortage of doctors/teachers --- Oh dear!!
    No shortage of medicines --- Oh dear!!
    No shortage of building materials --- Oh dear!!
    Good hospitals and universities --- Oh dear!!
    Foreign workers keep their passports --- Oh dear!!

    I know we are a vast country with many poor and disadvantaged people, but there are also millions of educated highly skilled people in India and more dollar millionaires than there are people in Maldives........people like me!!
    You arrogant neanderthals should be comparing yourselves with other backward countries like Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan.....your sunni brothers......not with a vibrant, booming civilised democracy like India.
    Ann dear, you are not in our league OK?

  7. Miss India New Delhi is a Maldivian. Indians are not as silly

  8. Hey Ann.

    Your PPM bosses hold all that money, and leave us local citizens to starve and suffer.

    And you guys also incited the ending of GMR's contract here. 😀

  9. PPM stance on GMR has become like the infamous Humaam's confession. And both happened in front of media.

    .. one day he did it. Next it was not him.

  10. ATTN:Homosexual
    your comment really prove that your are really mad need medical help.
    pl first learn Islam and prophet Mohammed(S.A.W) teaching.
    prophet (S.A.W) teach us was tolerant and peace. to respect others not to destroy others worship places.
    some of mad people like you are destroying Islam and its believers. if would have power i will ask Islamic court to you hang you by your toung

  11. Mr.Gayoom this is really Egyptian technique. you must have learn from Egypt and fooled Maldivian for 30 years.
    For Maldives it is better to be part of India we love India. India. India. i die as Indian

  12. As a maldivian I feel cancelling the GMR agreement was the right thing to do in the best interest of Maldives and its people. There is no reason for anyone including Indians here then to complain about it. You may cause us trouble by holding visas, but at the end of the day remember its our country, our airport and hence our decision, we have to do what we feel is best for us. I don't understand why some Indians here then have to be so uncivilized with their comments. You may be great or better than us in many ways, but you can't force us to sell our national assets to you against our peoples wishes. If you are that great just learn to accept this fact and keep your smelly gobs shut. You stay in your holes and we stay in ours. End of story.

  13. Same old tricks by Gayoom - Now he talks about forging good relations with "India", after he wins, he'll cancel contracts and do whatever the hell he wants to and the Indians will keep complaining to no avail. This is Gayoom bhai's strategy. Indians know it only too well!

    As to the GMR contract - what really tweaks Indians is that it was a signed contract made by the government of Maldives where work had already begun,money allocated,etc but then it was suddenly cancelled and given to a Chinese firm as soon as the new Islamist government came to power! That is not the way proper governments conduct business, contracts must be honored and if there is any impropriety, a fair and open tender process must be initiated.

  14. These are just some rough times or situations that they are experiencing now. Pretty soon, I'm sure that they will be able to come to terms as what they have done for several years. The long-standing friendship of the two countries must never waver as it will help them both achieve new heights.


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