MALE, Maldives - The ongoing debate regarding the presence of the Indian military in the Maldives reached its zenith last night during a heated discussion between presidential candidates. The elections, scheduled for the 9th of September, 2023, might very well be influenced by the nation's stance on this particular issue.
Incumbent President Solih fervently defended the presence of the Indian military, asserting that they are not actively participating in military activities. Contrary to his claim, a slew of other candidates pinpointed several key agreements between the two nations, indicating direct involvement of Indian military assets.
Key agreements include:
Helicopter Agreement: Grants permission for the operation of two Indian military helicopters within the Maldivian territory.
Dornier Agreement: Permits the operation of an Indian military aircraft in the Maldives.
Uthuruthilafalhu Agreement: The most contentious of the lot, this agreement paves the way for India to establish a naval base in the Maldives. As part of this agreement, armed Indian military personnel will have a sanctioned presence on the base.
Hydrography Agreement: The Indian coastguard is given clearance to conduct hydrographic surveys within Maldivian waters.
The military presence of a foreign power has raised many eyebrows in the Maldives. The perception is further intensified by the contrasting portrayal by President Solih and the facts highlighted by his opposition.
With the elections just around the corner, the sentiment of the Maldivian people will soon be evident. The consensus, for now, suggests that the role of the Indian military within the nation might be a game-changer in the polls. The debate last night merely reiterated the importance and sensitivity of the issue at hand. The electorate's verdict next week will undeniably have long-standing ramifications on the diplomatic relations between the Maldives and India.