MALÉ, Maldives - A photograph capturing the Indian ambassador's vehicle entering the headquarters of the Maldives Defence Force has set social media abuzz, reigniting concerns over the undue influence of India over Maldives.
The image, rapidly circulating online, portrays the ambassador in his car proceeding inside the military complex. This comes amid previous reports suggesting frequent visits by the Indian ambassador to the Maldivian military headquarters, an action deemed unprecedented for any foreign diplomat in the island nation's history.
Thariq Ahmed, the Member of Parliament for the Mahibadhoo constituency, was among the many who expressed their dissent. He shared the controversial photograph on his social media channels, suggesting that President Solih's regime should be reconsidered based on such actions alone.
Since President Solih assumed office, there has been a significant increase in Indian military presence in the Maldives. Various agreements have been inked, and Indian military personnel are now stationed across various locations in Maldives. Furthermore, India has embarked on developing a naval base proximate to Malé, the Maldivian capital.
In an attempt to stifle opposition, President Solih decreed a ban last year against the "India Out" campaign, which had been raising its voice against the Indian military's growing presence. However, transparency remains a contentious issue. The Maldivian government has so far refrained from revealing the exact number of Indian soldiers currently based in the country, an issue that has now found its way to the courts.