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China-backed conservative Islamic elements caused the Maldives crisis: Former Indian envoy! Maldives China-backed conservative Islamic elements caused the Maldives crisis: Former Indian envoy!

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China-backed conservative Islamic elements caused the Maldives crisis: Former Indian envoy

Dnyaneshwar Mulay claims that Muizzu is a close ally of President Abdullah Yameen, who is well-known for being pro-China and anti-Indian.

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According to a former senior Indian diplomat, the swift deterioration of relations between India and the Maldives might be attributed to the rise of an Islamic conservative group on the Indian Ocean island.

“The crisis has been caused by a lack of understanding of the situation and the realities of bilateral relations between the two countries,” stated Dnyaneshwar Manohar Mulay, a former Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives. “Democracy in the Maldives is relatively young, in their teens.”

The newly elected Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a meeting just one month ago, and since then, their ties have deteriorated dramatically. Three Maldivian politicians provoked the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, immediately with tweets criticizing him for his close links to Israel and for pushing the Lakshadweep islands during his recent visit, which was seen as a cost to the Maldives.

Additionally, the clergy made disparaging remarks about Indians. The damage is done even though the tweets were removed, the Ministers were suspended, and the Maldivian government disassociated itself from them.

“Whenever such developments happen, it is the result of some people, who have been polluting the minds of the island population there, and China has played a significant role in doing this,” stated former High Commissioner Mulay. It has been giving all of the support to the Maldives’ conservative components, and the country’s present administration is both strongly conservative and pro-development.

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“There is an Islamic tilt to their policies, which is why President Muizzu’s first visit was to Turkey, and it is regrettable that his second visit was to China,” he continued. It reveals the preferences of the new regime.

Mulay brought out the fact that President Muizzu is a supporter of the late Abdullah Yameen, the well-known hardline opponent of India who presided over the Maldives from 2013 to 2018. Yameen embezzled USD 1 million in state funds in 2019, earning a five-year prison sentence and a USD five million fine.

As President of the Maldives, Yameen had laid the foundation for the Chinese debt trap in 2015 and led the `India Out’ campaign, currently being pursued by President Muizzu, who wants India’s 70 soldiers in the island nations out. These personnel operate India-sponsored radars and surveillance aircraft.

Indian involvement in the Maldives is long, extending from hospitals, education, credit facilities, defence agreements, and many other areas of bilateral cooperation, the former High Commissioner told this reporter.

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In Mulay’s view, however, when things settle down, Maldivians would realise that it would be very difficult to navigate through their domestic issues; issues related to climate change and day-to-day requirements. Maldives is extremely dependent on India and New Delhi has been providing all this, by going out of its way for decades now, since about 1976.”

He said that sections of the Maldives population are already voicing their fears, knowing that India is the first responder during its time of crisis. “The tourism industry has voiced its fears, as have the others,” the former High Commissioner said.

Asked if China could grab the space if India vacated it in a country regarded as a long-term close ally, Mulay said: “I am sure things would improve, but I will give it another six months to see how things shape up.”

In November 1988, Indian troops famously intervened to thwart a coup attempt in the island nation. The attempt was carried out by a group of Maldivians and assisted by armed mercenaries of a Tamil secessionist organisation from Sri Lanka, the Peoples’ Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), to overthrow the government. In the counter-offensive called Operation Cactus, India had thwarted the move, earning it a lot of goodwill.

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