President Ibrahim Mohammed Solih has falsely stated that his government has disclosed information regarding the Uthuruthilafalhu (UTF) agreement to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security services, commonly known as 241 Committee.
Speaking at the press conference held yesterday at the President's Office, the president claimed that his government is disclosing relevant information on UTF agreement to the 241 Committee of the parliament. He gave this answer when Ahmed Azaan a journalist from Dhiyares News asked why the government refuses to disclose the agreement to the public. The journalist noted that the maritime security strategy of India states that to exert their influence in the Indian ocean, they intend to develop various infrastructure in Indian Ocean Region (IOR) countries and that the people are concerned that the infrastructure that will be developed in UTF will be utilized by India for their own interest.
According to parliament members in the 241 committee so far the government has not shared any information regarding the UTF agreement which was signed on 21st February 2021.
The President also claimed that the agreement will not undermine the sovereignty and independence of Maldives. However, he failed to explain why his government refuses to disclose the agreement to the public.
In mid-March, a draft copy of the agreement was leaked to the public. As per the agreement India will have exclusive rights over the facilities at Uthuruthilafalhu. In addition, India can deploy their military at UTF for an indefinite period.
The government claimed that the leaked copy was a forgery, but refused to disclose the original document which was signed on 21st February. Multiple sources who spoke to TMJ on the condition of anonymity confirmed that the leaked document was a draft proposed by the government of India. It is unclear whether the government brought significant changes to the draft before signing the agreement.