Former Maldives president returns with ‘India Out’ campaign

The former Maldives president who has been jailed on corruption charges when returned to politics after his prison life made a movement against India’s hand and influence in his country. India had a close and good relationship with the Maldives in the aspect of trade and other shares. However, the new movement is also a campaign and is taken by Abdulla Yameen, he worries about New Delhi’s battling over China for supremacy in its own backyard.

In view of this, Abdulla Yameen wanted to cancel the defense deals signed with India as he alleged that New Delhi has developed a major military presence in the archipelago off the coast of Sri Lanka, this has already been denied by the ruling parties. 

However, the growth of the campaign after the cancellation of the corruption case against Yameen in November attracted large crowds at rallies and strengthened his Progressive Party of Maldives, which is close to Beijing.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for India’s foreign ministry declined to comment on Yameen’s claims. The ministry last year said that India remains committed to strengthening its traditionally friendly relationship with the Maldives.

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In the Maldives, there are Indian teachers, doctors, nurses, and store assistants apart from being housemaids and chauffeurs across the atolls and islands. It is expected that the Indian migrants will get affected by the campaign under Maldive’s president. 

Abdulla Yameen was sentenced to 5 years in prison with an additional fine of 5 million dollars owed to the state. The High Court upheld the jail sentence in January 2021. The Supreme Court of Maldives has ruled in favor of the appeal case lodged by the opposition leader former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. The opposition leader was freed after spending 2 years and 2 days in jail.