President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s appeal for help from India for the upcoming 2023 Presidential elections, was met with a frosty response from Indian Minister for External Affairs, S Jaishankar.
President Solih conducted an official trip to India from the 1st to the 4th of this month. It was an invitational one extended by Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister. President Solih held a separate meeting with the Minister of External Affairs.
An official of the Ministry had shared the details of the meeting.
In the meeting, President Solih had thanked India for their continued assistance extended on ongoing projects. The continuance of these projects, he said, was dependent on Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) claiming a second term in office.
The President went on to add that there were significant challenges to his administration, including the India Out campaign, economic challenges, and the challenges posed by Speaker Mohamed Nasheed.
“Then the President said, very indirectly, because of these challenges, Indian assistance was necessary for the  campaign. The projects will continue only if an MDP government was in place,” the official reported.
In response, Jaishankar said that stopping the India Out campaign was the responsibility of President Solih. Halting the campaign, he said, was not the responsibility of India. He also added that MDP’s internal conflict should be addressed by the President.
“When the President said the projects would not go ahead, Jaishankar had a very blunt response. He said that India would confidently work with any government of the Maldives, he added.
With this blunt response, President Solih had refrained from mentioning the elections any further.
Indian assistance was vital in 2018 President elections as well, especially for MDP. It is expected that Indian assistance would be extended in the upcoming elections. However, the Indians have outright expressed their displeasure over the Government’s failure to halt the India Out campaign.