Parliament Speaker former President Mohamed Nasheed has said that Maldives and India can develop better ties with each other, while spouting off more fabrications about China.
He made these statements in his address to the Raisina Dialogue. The Raisina Dialogue is a multilateral conference held annually in New Delhi, India. The conference has emerged as India's flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-economics. It is hosted by the Observer Research Foundation, an independent think tank, in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs of India.
In his address, Nasheed assured that Maldives will always champion an “India First” policy, adding that he was sure to find more avenues to deepen the ties.
He assured that all attempts by China in the region would also be thwarted.
Nasheed has endlessly talked of the ‘Chinese debt trap’ from 2017 onward, further accusing Chinese of land grabs. He had previously claimed that China had wanted to instill a puppet regime and demolish democratic norms in the Maldives.
Citing that 70 percent of Maldives’ debt is to the Chinese, Nasheed said that this was a direct invitation extended to China to interfere in the country’s politics and economy.
His comments came mere days after President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih issued a decree criminalizing the movement calling for the removal of Indian military personnel in the country. Nasheed had lent his support to the decree.
Fact-checking Nasheed’s statements, based on Finance Ministry statistics, we can see that the Indian loans taken had outstripped that of loans taken from China. Up to May 2021, loans from China amounted to US$ 1.56 billion. At this date, the amount of loans taken from India amounted to US$ 1.85 billion – this does not include bonds taken from State Bank of India (SBI).