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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 13 April 2024 3.12 AM IST

Former Maldives President urges Muizzu to end stubbornness; Says economic challenges can be overcome through talks with India

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MALDIVES: Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said that the economic challenge can be overcome if Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu ends his 'stubbornness' and negotiates with neighbouring countries. Solih's remarks came after Mohammad Muizzu requested India to provide debt relief to the Maldives. The 45-year-old Muizzu defeated the 62-year-old Solih in the presidential election held last September.

"I saw in the media that Muizzu requested India to provide debt relief. But Maldives' economic distress is not due to its loan arrears to India. China owes more than India. The repayment period is 25 years. We are sure that our neighbouring countries will help us. We should end this stubbornness and negotiate with them. The government is fooling the public. MDP is only resuming the projects started by the government. Ministers are now lying to cover up that lie," Solih said at the election campaign meeting held in Male.

According to last year's final figures, Maldives owes India 400.9 million dollars. This grant was received on several occasions. The current demand of Maldives is that it is difficult to repay the amount together and to change the terms of repayment. Steps should be taken to speed up the completion of the projects currently underway with India. Muizzu had also said that Prime Minister Modi had raised this issue in the last meeting.

It is interesting to note that Muizzu's change of position comes in the context of general elections in Maldives in April. Muizzu assumed office as President last November. It was after this that diplomatic relations between India and Maldives started to deteriorate. Muizzu, a Chinese sympathizer, had demanded the complete withdrawal of 88 Indian soldiers in the Maldives by May 10. Then, earlier this month, the first batch of soldiers returned to India.

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TAGS: MALDIVES, MUIZZU, SOLIH, ECONOMIC, FINANCIAL, INDIA, CHALLENGES, OVERCOME
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