Joint Opposition Parties Condemn Scurrilous Attack on Indian PM by pro-Yameen Newspaper

20 December 2017, Male’: The Maldives’ Joint Opposition — which includes the Maldivian Democratic Party, the Jumhoory Party, the Adhaalath Party, and a faction of the ruling PPM — strongly condemns the outrageous attack on India and the Indian Prime Minister, published in an editorial in Vaguthu newspaper on Tuesday.

The newspaper — a mouthpiece of President Yameen whose editorials are routinely approved by the President’s Office prior to publication — labeled India “the biggest enemy of the Maldives” and called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “an extremist Hindu” who is “anti-Muslim.”

The editorial went on to accuse India of plotting a military overthrow of the Yameen regime, providing weapons to terrorists in Sri Lanka, and breaking international law through its actions in Kashmir.

The editorial also suggested the Maldives should ditch India and find a “new best friend” in China.

Two former Maldives presidents, who belong to the joint opposition, labeled the article an outrageous slur on India and the Indian Prime Minister.

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said on Twitter: “I condemn the article in Vaguthu that brands India as an enemy of Maldives. Outrageous! No Maldivian in his right mind would subscribe to such views. India has been and remains a vey close and trusted friend of Maldives.”

Former President Mohamed Nasheed added: “Strongly condemn anti-India diatribe in regime mouthpiece Vaguthu. Prez YAG’s reckless foreign policy is destroying our relationship with India. Maldives must be sensitive to India’s security and safety.”

Since assuming office in 2013, President Yameen has increasingly shunned India and embraced Beijing, unveiling a raft of infrastructure projects paid for through expensive Chinese loans.

Pramit Chaudhuri, a well connected Indian journalist, wrote an opinion article in the Hindustan Times on 10 December, in which he suggested that New Delhi believes many of the Chinese-funded infrastructure projects in the Maldives have “price tags two to three times higher than normal. The assumption is Yameen and his cronies have been lining their pockets.”

Notes for editors

Summary of the Vaguthu article:

• India used to be the biggest contributor to the Maldives – India saved the Maldives in the 1988 coup attempt, and over the years have provided assistance to the Maldives in many areas.
• However things have changed now and today, India is the biggest enemy of the Maldives
• Now India views us with envy, full of self interest and hostility
• Now, some Indian officials believe that the government must be overthrown through military assistance
• India has been part of such things before – India provided weapons to the Tamil terrorists during the 30 year civil conflict in Sri Lanka
• If you look into Kashmir issue too, India has been acting against international law.
• How india is treating its own Muslims is evidence that India is no longer a compassionate nation
• Indian policy has shifted since the extremist Hindu Narendra Modi has been in power. He is especially, anti-muslim
• India is envious because:
o Progress in the Maldives means we no longer have to beg Indians
o Maldives is an Islamic country – it is Indian policy to make things difficult for Muslims
o Maldives relations with China – India does not want Chinese assistance to reach the Maldives
• Sometimea we will have to face difficulties – now is the time for Maldive to find a new best friend. A best friend who will work should-to-shoulder with the Maldives.