Former Maldives Minister praises age-old ties with India

“India has always helped us,” said Maria Ahmed Didi.

Former Maldives Defense Minister Maria Ahmed Didi said on Monday that the insulting remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed the “shortsightedness” of the Maldives government, adding that India was a reliable ally, providing assistance in various sectors, including defence, and criticized Any attempt to undermine a long-term relationship.

She also expressed disappointment over the derogatory remarks and highlighted India as the Maldives' “emergency call”, which always comes to their rescue in times of need.

“It is short-sighted on the part of the current administration… We are a small country and friendly to everyone, but we cannot deny that we share a border with India. We have similar security concerns. India has always helped us.” “Even in the defense sector, they have helped us with capacity building, providing us with equipment, and trying to make us more self-sufficient,” Maria Ahmad Didi said.

She said that the Maldives and India were like-minded in their quest for democracy and respect for human rights. “It is very short-sighted on the part of the current government to really think that we can really try not to maintain the old relationship that we have always had with India…,” she said.

A major row erupted last week when the Deputy Minister of Maldives, along with other Cabinet members and government officials, made insulting and obnoxious references to Prime Minister Modi's visit to Lakshadweep.

Meanwhile, the former Maldives Defense Minister said “…India has been our 911 call, when we need it, we call you and you all come to our rescue. That kind of friend. When you see such disparaging remarks about friends like this, it's… “It's sad for everyone involved.”

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She stressed the importance of maintaining ancient relations with India and expressed her concerns about the negative impact of such statements on the friendship between the two countries.

The former Maldives Defense Minister said that given our close friendship, neighboring status and participation in the global community, it is imperative that we uphold our international commitments.

She referred to the historic “India First” policy and expressed her hope for its continuation, recognizing India as the closest neighbor who constantly provides support in times of need.

“I believe that as close friends, as neighbours, and as part of the global community, we will maintain our international commitments, and the Maldives government will maintain our traditional foreign policy of being friends with everyone. We have always had an India First policy, and I hope they will continue to do so,” he said. And that they realize that you are the closest neighbour, that you will be the people who have always come and will come in the future as well when the need arises, and that you have the feelings of the Maldivian people because we have always gone to India for medical treatment as well.”

She urged recognition of the feelings of the Maldivian people, and highlighted cases of seeking medical treatment in India and receiving Covid-19 vaccines under Indian aid.

“When we did not have the facilities to treat certain diseases in the Maldives. Even otherwise, when we were hit by Covid, we also got the vaccines under Indian aid. We have had a lot of cooperation between the two countries. We have cooperated with each other. Other since time immemorial “It is not possible for us to even think that we can replace our closest neighbors.”

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On January 2, Prime Minister Modi visited the union territory of Lakshadweep and shared several pictures, including an “exhilarating experience” of him attempting scuba diving.

In a series of posts on the website

In a now-deleted post, Maldivian Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Shiona, made a sarcastic and disrespectful reference to Prime Minister Modi.

The Maldives government on Sunday distanced itself from Minister Maryam Shiona's insulting remarks, saying her opinion did not reflect those of the government.

The government added that “appropriate action” would be taken against the minister, who is experiencing a firestorm on social media over her post.

The government added that it believes freedom of expression should be exercised “in a democratic and responsible manner, and in ways that do not spread hatred and negativity and hamper the close relations between the Maldives and its international partners.”

Regarding the presence of Indian forces in the Maldives, the minister said: “It was not at all about the presence of Indian forces here or anything like that. They were here to help us at the request of our government. Many successive governments have requested that they come and help us.” You've helped us keep our citizens safe, and it's sad that we don't see it that way.

She said the Maldives had never had Indian troops in the traditional sense in the Maldives.

“As part of the defense cooperation, India provided us with technical support on a purely humanitarian basis to move our personnel from the islands to Mali. The equipment provided to the Maldives was always there to assist us, to assist us with humanitarian aid,” he said. “Evacuating our people. The helicopters that were there… are under the command and control of the MNDF (Maldives National Defense Force). The MNDF tells them when to fly, how to fly and what to do about it.”

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(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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