January 9, 2024
NEW DELHI – India has always helped us and it would be a very short-sightedness on part of the present administration to think we can really try to not keep the age-old relationship with New Delhi, said former Maldivian defence minister Mariya Ahmed Didi amid row over derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi by some of the archipelagic state’s ministers.
In a video statement shared by news agency ANI, Didi noted that India has been helping Maldives in the defence sector and both Male and New Delhi share the same quest for democracy.
“We are a small country who are friends with all, but we cannot deny that we share borders with India. We share similar security concerns. India has always helped us. They have been helping us even in the defence sector with capacity building, providing us with equipment, and trying to make us more self-sufficient. We are like-minded in our quest for democracy and respect for human rights…,” she said.
The former Maldivian defence minister further added, “It’s a very short-sightedness on the part of the present government to really think that we can really try to not keep the age-old relationship that we have always had with India.”
A massive diplomatic row was triggered after several ministers in the Mohamed Muizzu government passed disparaging and unsavoury remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lakshadweep visit.
Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed had also slammed the ministers for their “appalling” remarks against PM Modi and asked President Mohamed Muizzu’s government to distance itself from the controversy.
“What appalling language by Maldives Government official @shiuna_m towards the leader of a key ally, that is instrumental for Maldives’ security and prosperity. @MMuizzu gov must distance itself from these comments and give clear assurance to India they do not reflect gov policy,” he wrote on ‘X’.
After outage and condemnation from all quarters, the Maldivian government had suspended two ministers and a ruling coalition leader for making derogatory remarks against Modi and distanced itself from what it called were “personnel opinion”.