Maldives's China policy a security threat to India

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New Delhi, July 10 : Saying Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's Government in Maldives is disturbing the balance of power in the Indian Ocean by wooing China, the Presidential candidate of Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, Mr. Mohammad Nasheed, today sought Indian Government's help to ensure a free and fair election in their country and thereby oust the Gayoom regime.

Taking part in an interaction at Observer Research Foundation in Delhi today, Mr. Nasheed, who is leading a delegation of his party members here, said the "dictactorship" of Gayoom was creating security threats to India with their China wooing policy and Islamisation of the society.

Saying they were young Indians at heart, Mr. Nasheed said his party, if it came to power, would not do anything which would be inimical to the interests of India and Indian people.

Criticising the increasing Chinese influence in Maldives, Mr. Nasheed said his party would throw out Chinese bases if any from their country. "I don't mind taking development assistance, but what they (Gayoom regime) are doing is cheap politics. I can't even think of it. So cheap politics," Mr. Nasheed said.

Mr. Gayoom's Presidential term is ending on November 11 and elections are scheduled in or before October.

Mr. Nasheed and his party colleagues, however, said that they believed that Mr. Gayoom would delay elections or hold on through rigged elections.

Mr. Nasheed hoped the Indian government would take note of the changed scenario in his country and support the democratic aspirations of its people.

Mr. Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, former Secretary of the SAARC and a former Minister in the Gayoom Government, said Mr. Gayoom was wooing China now because he knew that democratic India would start supporting democratic aspirations of the Maldivian people. Mr. Gayoom's party has developed relations with the Communist Party of China, he added.

Mr. Nasheed said if India helped Maldivian people to have real democracy, Maldives, which is very important to India because of strategic and security reasons, could become the first democratic country in the Muslim world.

ANI

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