Indo - Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives Relations

Gautam

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Feb 16, 2019
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Thumbs Up For Reform Agenda As President’s Party Wins Maldivian Parliamentary Polls
Amitabh P Revi New Delhi 7 April 2019

Today is a happy day. Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s reaction after the MDP (Maldivian Democratic Party) won a clear majority in the 87-member Majlis. The elections for the Maldivian Parliament had 2,64,442 eligible voters (Goa has about four times the number: 11,31,000 voters in 2019). Provisional results suggest a landslide with over 60 of 87 seats to the MDP.

About 80 per cent of voters cast their ballot in only the third multi-party parliamentary election in the country. The elections come just over six months after the Maldives voted out former President Abdulla Yameen in September 2018. So it seems it’s full steam ahead for President Solih and his promise of a reform agenda. The MDP decided to contest alone in these elections despite being part of a four-party coalition even as questions have been raised on the government’s viability.




Image Courtesy: MDP
“Many of our coalition partners in the government were contenders in this election, some were our opponents. I assure the people, as I’ve done time and again, the coalition remains intact. I haven’t forgotten the hard work by our coalition partners to bring the country back from the brink of President Yameen’s disastrous rule. I will continue to work with the leaders of all our coalition partners to ensure we deliver on our pledges to the people,” President Solih added.

Ex-President Yameen, who is facing corruption charges, did not run in the parliamentary elections. But former Home Minister, under him, Umar Naseer told SNI: “This shows how disorganised the opposition is. The opposition requires a new direction and a fresh start”. He admitted, “I was expecting a defeat but not on this scale”. But he threw his hat into the ring for the future, saying “There is room for manoeuvring but it will be an uphill battle”.




SNI File Picture
President Solih has promised reform of the judiciary, police and bureaucracy and the recovery of money that former President Yameen is accused of garnering through corrupt deals. The MDP ran a campaign called Agenda 19. It consists of 19 concept papers that form the party’s legislative agenda, including bills to introduce a minimum wage, unemployment benefits and a personal income tax.

President Solih, in a statement, said, “While we celebrate, we must also not forget the immense challenges that lie ahead of us. The work to strengthen our democratic institutions, to deliver basic services for citizens, to our promise of bringing corruption, past and present to book and ending impunity starts now. I look forward to working with all of you to realize our promises to the people.”
The landslide MDP win cements the comeback of former president Mohamed Nasheed, who was in exile until late last year.




SNI File Picture
When SNI spoke to former President Nasheed just after the presidential polls, he said, “I have always believed in a parliamentary system and I always believe that Maldives’ political stability would hinge upon a parliamentary system. Again and again I must stress, I will not do anything without consulting the President and without his consent. The President is our man. We grew up together. He is my best friend. There is no way I’m going to do anything that will disturb his Presidency. His Presidency is mine. It’s ours”.

Thumbs Up For Reform Agenda As President’s Party Wins Maldivian Parliamentary Polls - Sniwire News
 

Gautam

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Feb 16, 2019
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India spends big on Maldives security

c135b716-5c85-4654-84fd-df4e11d9809e_16x9_788x442.jpg

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) stands next to Maldives' President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during a welcome ceremony at Republic square in Maldive's capital Male on June 8, 2019. (AFP)

AFP, Male, Maldives, Saturday, 8 June 2019

Indian leader Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated a coastal radar system and military training center in the Maldives on Saturday, as New Delhi seeks to fend off Chinese influence in the strategically-placed nation.

The Maldives, a low-lying archipelago of more than a thousand tiny coral islands south of the Indian subcontinent, straddles the world’s busiest east-west maritime route.

India, the country’s traditional ally, had watched former strongman leader Abdulla Yameen’s growing political and financial reliance on Beijing with unease.

But Yameen’s election loss last September has seen the new administration under President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih gravitate back to the nation’s traditional benefactors in New Delhi.

Modi and Solih inaugurated the training facility on Saturday, officials said, adding that both projects cost New Delhi $26 million.

A joint statement said the two sides discussed the need to maintain peace and security in the Indian Ocean region.

The leaders pledged to combat piracy, terrorism, organized crime and trafficking through “coordinated patrolling and aerial surveillance, exchange of information, and capacity building,” the statement said.

Modi is making his second trip to the Maldives in less than seven months.

The two-day visit is also Modi’s first foreign visit since taking the oath of office for his second term after an emphatic election win in May.

Under Modi’s leadership, India earlier this year granted a $800 million line of credit to the Maldives, which remains heavily indebted to Beijing.

The Indian premier next travels to neighboring Sri Lanka, where he will hold talks with political leaders during a brief stopover.


Last Update: Saturday, 8 June 2019 KSA 19:04 - GMT 16:04

India spends big on Maldives security
 

Gautam

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Feb 16, 2019
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India to setup Radars in Maldives to track China's Warships

Saturday, June 08, 2019
By: Deccan Herald
India is set to get more eyes to keep a watch on the warships of China in Indian Ocean region with Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating on Saturday a new network of radar systems, which New Delhi recently installed in the islands of Maldives.

Modi will visit Maldives on Saturday and Sunday. He and Maldives' President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will remotely inaugurate the Coastal Surveillance Radar Systems installed recently in the islands of the Indian Ocean archipelago. They will also jointly inaugurate the Composite Training Center, which India helped Maldives build for its National Defence Forces, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said in New Delhi.

Prime Minister's visit to Maldives during the weekend is going to be his first after he took over the top office in New Delhi for the second consecutive term on May 30. He will also visit Sri Lanka before returning to New Delhi on Sunday.

New Delhi of late set up 10 Coastal Surveillance Radar Systems in the islands of Maldives— all built by state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited based in Bengaluru.

The network of radars is linked a Central Control Station at the Maldives Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Villingili island near the national capital Male.

The radar systems New Delhi helped Male set up in the islands are intended to help the Indian Ocean archipelago safeguard “its sovereignty in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” said Gokhale, while briefing journalists ahead of Prime Minister's visit to Male.

Sources, however, told the DH on Friday that the network of radar systems in Maldives would also prove to be a strategic asset for India and help Indian Navy to detect and respond to any threat to its national security and sovereignty.

The Indian Navy last year spotted a Type O39A Yuan class submarine of People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China in Indian Ocean. This was the first time a Chinese PLA Navy submarine was detected in Indian Ocean after the June-August 2017 military stand-off between India and China in Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan. The PLA Navy had 14 warships and as many as seven submarines in Indian Ocean during the 72-day-long stand-off.

The PLA Navy started deploying warships in Indian Ocean in 2013, professedly to support anti-piracy operations in Gulf of Aden.

New Delhi has also been worried over the “String of Pearls” strategic assets China is building around India in Indian Ocean region.

New Delhi's project to set up radar systems in Maldives had been stalled by the archipelago's former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who had pursued a policy that had resulted in a drift in the Indian Ocean nation's relations with India and led it into a tighter embrace with China. The project regained momentum after Solih succeeded Gayoom in November.

India is also building similar networks of Coastal Surveillance Radar Systems in other Indian Ocean nations like Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.

Modi and Solih will on Saturday also witness signing of a White Shipping Agreement— a pact, which will set up a framework for exchange of advance and real-time information between navies and coast guards of India and Maldives about identity and movement of commercial non-military merchant vessels sailing in the Indian Ocean region which could also prove to be a threat to its EEZ resources as well as its national security.

India to setup Radars in Maldives to track China's Warships
 

Gautam

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Feb 16, 2019
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In relief to India, Maldives may scrap ocean deal with China
Sachin Parashar | TNN | Updated: Jun 17, 2019, 10:00 IST

An agreement China signed with the Maldives to build an observatory in the Indian Ocean is likely to be scrapped, as India’s relations with its maritime neighbour enter a purple patch following the exit of former Maldivian president Abdulla Yameen. Top local government sources in Male told ToI that the agreement Yameen signed with China in 2017, which raised a security alarm in India, is ``not on the table’’.

Titled Protocol on Establishment of Joint Ocean Observation Station, the agreement was meant to allow China to construct an observatory at Makunudhoo, the westernmost atoll of the Maldives in the north.The finalisation of the agreement had set off concerns in India that it would allow China a vantage point of an important Indian Ocean shipping route through which many merchant and other ships pass. It would also be located uncomfortably close to Indian waters.

Then foreign secretary S Jaishankar, who is now foreign minister, had discussed the issue with then Maldivian envoy Ahmed Mohamed. Without sharing the specifics of the agreement, the envoy had clarified that China was only looking to build a meteorological ocean observation centre. The Yameen government never made the agreement public and following a controversy, after ToI first reported the issue on February 26 last year, Chinese authorities clarified that the observatory was not meant for any military purpose

In India though, many saw it as yet another move to ensure India’s strategic encirclement. Retired navy officials and strategic experts saw it as an attempt to acquire accurate hydrological data for sub-surface operations including possible deployment of nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) and nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs).

The situation though changed dramatically after the ouster of Yameen and with a government led by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) firmly ensconced. The recent visit by PMNarendra Modi, the first full-fledged visit by an Indian PM in 8 years, saw the inauguration of a coastal surveillance radar system and also a composite training facility for the Maldivian defence forces. In a significant message to the Maldives, which is said to owe more than half of its external debt to China, Modi said during the visit that India’s developmental partnership wasn’t meant to empower others, not weaken them by increasing their dependence on India.

Former president and the most powerful MDP leader, Mohammed Nasheed, remains a staunch supporter of India and was quoted by a newspaper as having said a few days ago that the Maldives shouldn’t even try to balance relations with India and China. He also said that the Maldives can’t afford to have defence cooperation with China.

In relief to India, Maldives may scrap ocean deal with China | India News - Times of India
 

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Article 370: After UAE and Sri Lanka, now Maldives back Indian government's move
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WION Web Team New Delhi Aug 07, 2019, 03.14 PM (IST)
After UAE and Sri Lanka, now the Maldives has backed India government's move to scrap Article 370, Article 35A and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories (UTs).
The Maldivian government released a statement on Tuesday backing Indian move that aims integrate Kashmir more closely with the rest of the country.
"The Maldives considers the decision taken by the Government of India regarding Article 370 of the Indian Constitution as an internal matter," an official statement by the Maldives government said.
"We believe that it is the right of every sovereign nation to amend their laws as required," it added.
On Tuesday, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe backed the creation of a new Union Territory of Ladakh, noting it would be the first Indian state with a Buddhist majority.
Wickremesinghe, in a tweet, also said that the creation of Ladakh and the restructuring of Jammu and Kashmir were India's internal matters.
The UAE Ambassador Ahmad Al Banna said his country has taken note of the Indian government`s decision to abrogate Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and added that it was India`s internal matter aimed at improving efficiency.
"We also took note of the introduction of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill in the Indian Parliament aimed at replacing Article 370 with the creation of Ladakh region and the state of Jammu and Kashmir as India`s two new Union Territories," he said.
India abrogated Article 370 which accorded a special status to Jammu and Kashmir after a resolution regarding the same was passed in both houses of the Parliament.
The Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill 2019 was also passed. It strips Jammu and Kashmir's status of a state, converting it into two Union Territories — namely Jammu and Kashmir (with a legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature)
 
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