The former Maldivian ambassador to India, Ahmed Mohamed, said that India had demanded that no country other than India have would have any right to use Uthuru Thila Falhu. The Yameen administration did not agree to such a demand, said the former Ambassador.
In an interview given to Sun, former Ambassador Mohamed said that Uthuru Thila Falhu had been discussed during President Yameen’s 2016 visit to India. Although talks had indeed taken place, said the former Ambassador, no agreement had been reached.
In addition, the former Ambassador and other officials from the Foreign Ministry met with Indian officials in 2018. He had communicated to the Indians that the Yameen administration had no desire to initiate the project with the condition that the dockyard be exclusively for India.
He said that the current Indian Minister of External Affairs, Dr Jaishankar, has been among the officials he had met during that meeting. He said that the Indian government would be very aware of the Yameen administration’s stance regarding UTF with regards to India.
The former Ambassador mentioned that it was during that 2018 meeting that he had communicated that the Maldivian government did not wish to renew the agreement regarding the Indian military helicopters. He said that he had communicated to the Indians that the government wished for India to take the helicopters back.
However, the Indian government did not take back the helicopters to India despite an official request by the government of Maldives. President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih who was sworn into office later that year renewed the agreement on the first day in office.