Indian military refused to leave when requested: Pres Yameen
Former President Abdullah Yameen has defended his administration, stating that his administration had requested Indian military officials to leave but the Government of India had refused to recall them.
He made the revelation in an interview to Voice.
The former President said that his administration was never indebted to the Indian government, the way this administration was. He referred to his administration having disclosed all agreements signed with India, adding that this administration would not be able to disclose all agreements, without express permission from India.
He also denied rumors that Indian military officials were stations in Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) under his administration. President Yameen also stressed that helicopter operators from India were brought in during the administration of former President Mohamed Nasheed.
President Yameen said that his administration had put a halt to the helicopter project and attempted to send back the officials attached with the project. He admitted that his attempts were unsuccessful.
It was not for lack of trying, he added, as there were multiple attempts to send the officials back. New Delhi had refused to honor the request.
In a press conference on 16th March 2021, TMJ’s parent company, Dhiyares, had asked Chief of Defense Force Major General Abdullah Shamaal about the timeline of events. Shamaal said that he did not believe that the Indian government would refuse such a request or the government of Maldives was unable to terminate the agreement. He leveled blame on the previous government completely.
Shamaal said that if the Yameen administration had fully intended to nullify the agreement, then they would have been able to do it quite easily. He added that Maldives was an independent and sovereign nation and therefore, would be able to nullify an agreement.
Official state documents debunks General Shamaal’s assertions.
The Yameen administration had sent formal notices to the Government of India to remove the helicopters and soldiers. This was widely reported in local and Indian press. TMJ has obtained copies of the said notices, which General Shamaal claims to be non-existent.
The first of these notices were dispatched on 22nd April 2018. Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Indian High Commission in the Maldives to conclude their operations in Addu City by end of June 2018.
A second notice issued on 6th May 2018 asked the High Commission said that the helicopter agreement in Laamu Atoll had expired on 1st May 2018 and therefore to send back the helicopter in that area back.
Both requests were ignored.
The government of Maldives then sent a letter to the Commission on the 10th of June 2018. The letter reminded that helicopters in both Addu City and Laamu need to be sent back and had asked for a schedule for the process.
The three notices were completely ignored, with the High Commission offering one excuse after the other. The helicopters were grounded for the reminder of the year.