With opposition leaders in Maldives trying to close ranks before next year’s election in the country, India seemed to be keeping its options open by being guarded in its praise of President Abdulla Yameen leadership. Even as President Yameen reiterated his government’s “India First” policy in a meeting with visiting Minister of State M J Akbar on Wednesday, India and Maldives were not on the same page when it came to describing Yameen’s leadership in their official statements.
The Maldives president’s office, in a statement, said that the Minister of State “praised the President for his leadership, which he asserted is synonymous with peace, stability, and development within the Maldives, and in particular delivering for the development needs of the people.”
But, the Ministry of External Affairs’ statement did not mention such remarks by the Minister during the meeting.
Delhi’s careful positioning comes as opposition leaders and former Presidents Mohamed Nasheed and his rival-turned-friend Abdul Gayoom are working to build united opposition to Yameen. The elections in Maldives are due next year. Interestingly, Maldives is the only country in the neighbourhood, which has not been visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi so far.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, President Yameen conveyed his appreciation for the consistent support of India and reiterated the high priority attached by his Government to India in keeping with their “India First” policy.
“The Minister conveyed Prime Minister Modi’s personal greetings to the President of Maldives and reiterated India’s support for a stable, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Maldives fulfilling the aspirations of its citizens,” the MEA statement said.
The Maldives statement said, that Akbar “stated India is fully committed to support the Maldives in maintaining the development cooperation between the two countries, and expressed the sincere wishes of the Government of India to see the aspirations of the Maldivians for a stable, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Maldives consolidated in the near future,” it added.