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As Muizzu Attended Delhi Function, Maldives Parliamentary Panel Decided to Review 3 Agreements

On Monday, the Maldives president had a meeting with his Indian counterpart Draupadi Murmu. At around the same time, the national security committee of the Maldivian parliament decided to take a look at three agreements signed with India by the previous administration.
Narendra Modi (left) and Mohamed Muizzu. Photo: 

New Delhi: While Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu was in Delhi to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an influential parliamentary committee in the Maldives decided on June 10 to review three agreements signed by former President Ibrahim Solih’s administration with India.

Muizzu had participated in Modi and his cabinet’s oath-taking ceremony on Sunday evening on the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, along with leaders of other South Asian and Indian Ocean nations. He also attended the banquet at the Presidential Palace, where he sat next to the Indian PM on the high table. 

On Monday, he had a meeting with Indian President Draupadi Murmu, during which he “committed to preserving the close and historic ties with India”.

On the Monday sitting, the national security committee of the Maldivian parliament decided to take a look at three agreements signed with India by the previous administration.

The proposal, tabled by a ruling party MP, calls for investigating the reasons for signing the hydrography agreement and pact for the Dornier aircraft gifted by India. Besides, the 2021 bilateral agreement to develop and maintain a coastguard harbour and dockyard at Uthuru Thila Falhu atoll, would also be examined.

Initially, the lawmaker had called for a parliamentary inquiry into all actions of the previous administration that allegedly affected India’s independence. However, the other members suggested that there should be a more selective inquiry, rather than going for such a broad sweep.

According to Maldivian outlet The Edition, the committee had set up a four-member panel to review all the cases. 

India had cultivated close relations with the previous Maldivian Democratic government, with Modi himself attending the inauguration of Solih’s presidential term in 2019.

Ahead of the presidential election of 2023, the Maldivian opposition had campaigned an ‘India Out’ platform, which successfully cornered Solih on grounds of having allegedly compromised Maldivian sovereignty. It had called for the removal of Indian military personnel on Maldivian territory, even though they were there to operate aircraft for humanitarian sorties.

On his first day after assuming power, Muizzu had requested India to withdraw its soldiers.

This demand, along with the termination of the hydrography agreement and Muizzu travelling to China first before India, had led to a perception that the Maldives government was hostile to New Delhi.

It had led to a social media campaign to even boycott Maldives as a tourist destination among Indian celebrities after three Maldivian deputy ministers tweeted derogatory posts against the Indian PM. The three officials were suspended by the Maldives. 

Till now, India had avoided saying anything adverse officially, even agreeing to replace its military personnel with non-uniformed technicians. New Delhi has appeared to understand that Muizzu was implementing promises made to his loyal political base.

Meanwhile, Muizzu’s ruling coalition secured a super-majority in the parliamentary elections in March, strengthening his political position.

The invitation for Muizzu to attend India’s swearing-in ceremony was thus viewed as an opportunity for both nations to mend relations.

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