In­dia Re­buffs the Is­land Na­tion

Southasia - - Briefing -

The In­dian government has turned down the re­quest by the Mal­di­vian for­eign min­is­ter to visit In­dia. The hos­til­ity from In­dia comes at a time when the two coun­tries are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a tensed re­la­tion­ship as a re­sult of the Mal­di­vian government’s de­ci­sion to can­cel a con­tract with In­dia’s GMR Group from con­struct­ing Male’s In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Anx­i­ety be­tween In­dia and Mal­dives ac­cel­er­ated when Mal­di­vian For­eign Min­is­ter, Ab­dul Sa­mad Ab­dul­lah, tried to con­tact New Delhi on be­half of Pres­i­dent Mo­hamed Wa­heed, but re­ceived a neg­a­tive re­sponse. Pres­i­dent Wa­heed went to Delhi on a pri­vate visit and held meet­ings with In­dian author­ity in a per­sonal ca­pac­ity. How­ever, he was un­able to meet with the In­dian Prime Min­is­ter. The Mal­di­vian government de­nies any re­sent­ment by In­dia and the For­eign Min­is­ter has dis­cred­ited In­dian me­dia re­ports by stress­ing that he had not made any re­quest for an of­fi­cial meet­ing.

In­dia’s de­ci­sion to snub the Mal­di­vian leader is just one of the many ac­tions the coun­try took in re­sponse to a can­cel­la­tion of one of its high-pro­file in­vest­ments. In­dia has also im­posed visa re­stric­tions to Mal­di­vians along with with­draw­ing a spe­cial fa­vor that pre­vi­ously granted Mal­di­vian ves­sels ac­cess to In­dian ports. Strong of­fi­cial re­sponses to the Mal­di­vian de­ci­sion to ham­per In­dian in­vest­ment do not bode well for a re­la­tion­ship al­ready head­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion.

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