It has come to light that certain Cabinet Ministers and parliament representatives belonging to MDP are pressuring President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to greenlight India’s proposed establishment of a consulate in Addu City.
The Indian Cabinet announced their decision to establish a consulate in Addu City this past May. When asked about this, President Solih stated that the decision was India’s alone, and that the Maldivian government would only make a decision on the matter once it is communicated by the Indian government, and after the requisite discussions and pronouncements. He also assured that he remains undecided on the issue for now.
A source within the upper echelons of the Maldivian government revealed to “The Maldives Journal” on the condition of anonymity that President Solih does not want to establish an Indian consulate in Addu City. The President has said that “next we will see them declare statehood. Allowing India to establish a consulate in Addu would be an unconscionable mistake,” according to the source, who is a senior official within the Solih administration. The government has not officially confirmed whether or not this is truly President Solih’s stance on the matter.
The source also revealed to “The Maldives Journal” that despite the President being against such a decision, Cabinet Ministers belonging to MDP – including Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Defense Minister Mariya Didi, and Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail – are pressurizing the President to give India official permission to establish a consulate in the southernmost atoll, posthaste. The Ministers are joined in these efforts by certain MDP parliamentarians, said the source.
A credible source also revealed to “The Maldives Journal” that the parliamentarians representing constituencies belonging to Addu are supporting the establishment of a consulate in their city because they want the Indian Exim Bank to fund development projects in their constituencies. And because the Indian High Commission has informed them that this would only be possible if a consulate is established in the city. “The Maldives Journal” has also learned that India has promised certain MPs that if a consulate is established in the city, companies in which they have financial interests in will be awarded contracts related to these development projects funded by India.
“The Maldives Journal” can confirm that some of the work of the ongoing project to build neighbourhood fish processing plants in Addu is being carried out by companies owned or operated by individuals with close ties to the parliamentary representatives of Addu.
“The Maldives Journal” reached out to the President’s Spokesperson Mabrouk Azeez to confirm whether the statements quoted by the source as being said by President Solih are true, to which he responded that he is not privy to conversations the President has with different people. He went on to confirm that the President had not made a decision yet on whether to allow an Indian consulate to be established in Addu; but when pressed, did not deny whether the President is being compelled by MDP Ministers and MPs to acquiesce to the establishment of the consulate.
Countless Maldivians hailing from Addu have come out staunchly against the establishment of a consulate in their city.