The agreement signed between the Maldives and India regarding Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) would be studied, and anything in the agreement that needs to be changed would be changed, the opposition Coalition has said.
Speaking at a news conference held at the PPM office, PNC VP Mohamed Hussain Shareef said that the previous administration had indeed discussed developing UTF with India. President Yameen’s vision for UTF had gone beyond its potential military uses, and had also included several commercially viable ways to develop the location, said Shareef.
No agreement had been signed with India regarding UTF, said Shareef. What had been signed had been an Action Plan, he clarified. The Action Plan does not detail the ways in which UTF would be developed, he added.
After the Action Plan had been signed, India had proposed that UTF enjoy exclusive rights to UTF, he said.
Recognizing this as something that may jeopardize national sovereignty and security, President Yameen had decided to not proceed with developing UTF with India, said Shareef. During the Foreign Minister’s 2018 trip to India, said Shareef, the government communicated its decision to not grant exclusivity of UTF to any country.
Shareef said that the Opposition did not object to the development of UTF. However, he said, that the agreement allows for the stationing of Indian military personnel for 15 years and grants India exclusive rights to the location was cause for concern.
If the Progressive Coalition took charge of the government, he said, the agreements would be revised; if the UTF agreement contained any clauses that granted one country exclusivity to the location or permitted the stationing of foreign military: such clauses would be cancelled.
Anything in the agreement that needed changing would be changed, said Shareef.