Former President Mohamed Nasheed, Speaker of the Majlis, has made statements that may be interpreted as his approval of stationing a foreign military presence in the Maldives.
At a press conference held in the Majlis building yesterday, Dhiyares had asked the Speaker if his and his party's stand was to allow for a foreign military presence in the country. The Speaker responded at length and refrained from giving a direct answer.
Along these lines, Speaker Nasheed had said that it should not be assumed that a group of 500 heavily-armed terrorists would not attempt to attack and invade countries. He said that countries would respond to such threats in two ways, and one of those ways was to increase its own defences to deter such attempts.
The second way, he said, were defence agreements made with other countries. He said that terrorists would not attack such countries.
He said that the terrorists would to think to themselves, 'Even if we were to conquer that country, they have a defence agreement with other countries. Their allies would come and take us away. We would be defeated.' He said that his stance regarding defence involved 'broad-thinking' of this nature.
However, based on current international norms, other countries would come to the Maldives' aid in the case of a terrorist invasion even if no defence agreement existed. Even the UN Charter says that other countries would come to its aid. A foreign military presence in the Maldives is factually unnecessary to deter a terrorist invasion.
Citing history, Speaker Nasheed said that Mohamed Thakurufaanu had come into defence agreements with the Cannanore and Malabar kingdoms in his fight against the Portuguese. Likewise, Dhon Ban'daarain had stationed French mercenaries in Male for a period of four years. In more recent history, President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom had allowed for the presence of the Indian military in the country for a period of two years.
He said that he spoke at a parliamentary group and in other groups on how to best establish national security for the Maldives.
More recently, Speaker Nasheed had spoken out on an MDP WhatsApp group against the signing of the Defend Maldives petition by an MDP Male City councilmember. He had also written that the presence of a foreign military was of no cause for concern.
Regarding Speaker Nasheed's historical citations, it is worth noting that the French mercenaries had to be removed by force. Following the death of Mohamed Thakurufaanu, the Malabar kingdoms attacked the Maldives several times, and his son and heir, Ibrahim Kalaafaanu, was killed by Malabar soldiers. Likewise, the Maumoon administration had to exert many efforts to remove the Indian military presence that was stationed since the November 3 attack. The then-Foreign Minister Fathuhulla Jameel had spoken about the issue during a speech he delivered to the United Nations General Assembly. He pointed out that an international system of defence for small nations needed to be established so that small nations did not need to rely upon any one country.
Speaker Nasheed is the most vocal supporter of the current stationing of Indian military personnel in different parts of the Maldives under various pretexts. He had also, during the previous administration, called for an active Indian military intervention via his official Twitter account.