Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomeNews Reports'India Out' campaign in Maldives, supported by current president, was from last year when...

‘India Out’ campaign in Maldives, supported by current president, was from last year when “IT cell” had no interest in Maldives

Congress leader Priyank Kharge blamed the Modi government for "allowing party IT cell trolls to run foreign affairs"

The controversy sparked by 3 Maldivian ministers, now suspended, has brought global embarrassment to the Maldivian government. After a successful boycott Maldives campaign by Indian citizens, entrepreneurs and celebrities alike, the island country has appealed to China to send more tourists.

Where the entire row has unleashed India’s clout and that’s what everyone can really talk about, the Congress appears to see things differently than its compatriots, as is usually the case.

Congress leader and Karnataka Minister Priyank Kharge has suggested that the entire controversy signifies India’s loss and deteriorating ties with other nations under the Modi govt.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Kharge wrote, “India used to be the friendly big brother for our Asian and Indian Ocean neighbors. But strong arming smaller nations doesn’t help India in anyway. We are losing all the goodwill that has been built over decades. This is what happens when Govt allows party IT cell trolls to run foreign affairs.”

The basis of his geopolitical analysis were the reports that Maldives is begging to China for tourists because the Indian tourists that contributed greatly to its economy are boycotting it.

So the Congress’s takeaway is not that Indians made the pro-China Maldivian government bend but that India “lost all the goodwill built over decades”. But even in this wrong reading, the Congress minister could not get his facts right.

In a taunt to Mr Sinha, whose tweet first exposed the anti-India faces in the Maldivian government, Kharge blamed the Modi government for “allowing party IT cell trolls to run foreign affairs”.

However, Kharge, Congress and its stooges in the media have misrepresented the facts of the matter to milk their political narratives against the Indian government. The current PPM government in Maldives has historically been anti-India and pro-China. It is not the first time that the PPM is insulting India and Modi.

In 2020, then in the Opposition, the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) kicksarted the “India Out” campaign under former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The party backed by a news outlet named “Dhiyares” took to the streets donning red shirts with the text “India Out”, a demand to remove the Indian military forces deployed in the island nation.

While speaking to The Indian Express, Dhiyares co-founder Shifxan Ahmed alleged, “We are just protesting military presence in the country. We are not calling for a violent clash against India or Indians in the Maldives.”

Notably, the leader of the anti-India campaign, former President Yameen, had been pro-China during his tenure between 2013 and 2018 as Maldivian President. The current President of Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu, was also an active participant in the “India Out” campaign.

In January 2022, at least two Indian teachers were harassed on the streets by the supporters of the “India Out” campaign. hey were asked to leave the country.

It must be noted that the former Madivian President Abdulla Yameen was ousted from power in 2018 due to his pro-China policies. He claimed that India had been compromising the sovereignty of Maldives by interfering in its domestic affairs.

It was under the PPM-led Yameen government that India-Maldives ties had taken a hit and the same seems to be repeating now. PPM leader Abbas Adil Riza in December 2022 courted controversy after he called for an arson attack on the Indian High Commission in the capital city of Malé.

Notably, in the past too when ani-India demonstrations have broke out in Maldives, the Opposition parties in India attacked the Modi government for the tensions between the two nations.

Dancing to the tune of then Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen and by extention to China, on 14th June 2018, Congress scion Rahul Gandhi attacked the Modi government for the denial of visas by Maldives to Indians.

“Maldives, once one of our closest allies & beneficiary of massive aid, is cancelling Indian work visas & putting up “Not Hiring Indians” signs. This happens when foreign policy becomes about photo ops & “no agenda meetings” instead of strategic intent,” Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter.

The basis for Rahul Gandhi’s claims was a report published in The Hindu by Left-wing journalist Suhasini Haider claiming that Indians were not being granted visas by Maldives owing to the downgrading of ties. The report was motivated and lacked evidence to back the insinuations it was making.

A similar language is now being parroted by Priyank Kharge and other Congress leaders as they once again further the Chinese agenda. It would perhaps make the Congress and its footsoldiers happy to know that Maldives President Muizzu in December 2023 skipped the Colombo Security Conclave founded by India and opted to attend a Chinese Forum instead.

China and the Progressive Alliance in Maldives

The victory of the Progressive Alliance – including Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People’s National Congress (PNC) – in Maldives in October 2023 was touted as a victory for China and a setback for India.

From 2013-18 under the Yameen government, Maldives reportedly joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), borrowed extensively, leased islands, signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and discussed establishing a Joint Ocean Observation Centre with China.

Parallely, Yameen attacked India of meddling in Maldives’s internal affairs and told New Delhi to take back the choppers it had gifted to Male.

The anti-India political campaign fanned by China and the PPM in Maldives gave the latter a momentum in the 2023 elections. In his first speech as President, Muizzu coined the term “pro-Maldives” and atacked the Solih government for borrowing from India.

Amid the ongoing controversy, Muizzu has said that Beijing is Male’s “valued ally and integral collaborator”.

An island of Islamist hardliners

While suspended Maldivian minister Mariyam Shiuna called PM Modi a “clown” and “puppet of Israel”, another suspended minister Abdulla Mahzoom Majid made insulting comments against Indians.

Similar comments were made by suspended minister Malsha Shareef who is known to have made racist ‘cow urine’ and ‘cow dung’ jibes at Indians.

The hatred has exposed the fundamental Islamist mindset of the current Maldivian government. In fact, on 21st June 2022, an angry mob of hardliners including Islamic scholars and the then Opposition part PPM disrupted Yoga Day celebrations in Male.

A report citing top intelligence sources said that Maldives is a hub of ISIS operatives and also of Pakistan-based terror groups and narcotics smugglers.

A Maldivian link has emerged in the ISIS module case as recently as on 10th January 2024. A woman from the Maldives reportedly served as the handler for the arrested terrorist, Mohammed Shahnawaz.

Shahnawaz, a former mining engineer turned ISIS operative, had contact with the Maldivian woman through a Telegram channel named “Caged Pearl.” The woman purportedly worked to raise funds for women in the al-Hawl camp, a well-known ISIS refugee detention centre near the Iraq-Syria border.

Maldives is also known for lack of religious freedom for non-Muslims. As per reports, tourists cannot practice their religion in Maldives and cannot worship in public areas.

As per reports, three Indian visitors were arrested in Maldives for placing the idols of God there. Reports citing US state department data say that more than 250 people from Maldives have left the country to travel to Syria and join ISIS between 2014 to 2018.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Pragya Bakshi Sharma
Journalist with a journey from print to TV to digital news. Multi-tasker. Unstoppable Type 1 Diabetic running on insulin.

Related Articles

Trending now

Recently Popular

- Advertisement -