ARE INDO-MALDIVIAN RELATIONS STRAINED?
A lot has happened in the bilateral relations between India and Maldives during the last 10 years. The relations which were once described as one of the most vibrant and dynamic, have turned into one in which India has been painted as a villain. Though the genesis started 10 years back, it gathered further momentum during the last three years in particular, resulting in the ‘India Out’ campaign on social media.
The movement got a boost when the Maldives Supreme Court overruled former President Abdulla Yameen’s conviction in a money-laundering and embezzlement case in November 2021. The development allowed him to make a return to politics.
A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN
Ties between India and the Maldives had hit a low during the tenure of Yameen, who was considered to be pro-China rather than pro-India. Yameen’s half-brother, former president and Maldives Reform Movement party leader (MRM) Mamoon Abdul Ghayum, is among those who have opposed the campaign, even in 2013 when Yameen became the President.
India-Maldives bilateral relations deteriorated during the People’s Party of Maldives’ (PPM) five-year rule beginning in 2013, then led by Yameen and the anti-India sentiment was apparent even back then, observers say. Paradoxically though the Yameen government and its predecessor, the Waheed government, were considered “anti-India”, and though the Yameen government’s tilt in favor of China was clear, yet it had also openly discussed an ‘India-First’ policy for the Maldives.