Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has stated that the current administration will not allow India-China tussles in the Maldives.
In his ongoing official visit to India’s New Delhi, Minister Shahid delivered an address at the 43rd Sapru House Lecture at the Indian Council of World Affairs, on the topic “The Power of Small: The Maldives Story” – where he discussed Maldives’ foreign policy as a small island state.
On this note, Shahid underscored Maldives’ strategic location in the Indian Ocean comes with the responsibility of maintaining peace and security in the region, as a peaceful, secure, safe, Indian Ocean is crucial to a prosperous Maldives.
He cites this as the reason Maldives cultivated and maintained strategic and mutually beneficial relationships, which enables the nation to contribute to the efforts in holding order in the Indian Ocean.
“Relationships, that will build resilience within our country - whether that be economic resilience, climate resilience, or institutional resilience,” he added.
Minister Shahid detailed India, in this regard, to be a key partner.
“And India is contributing in a big way, to the development of the country, to the development of resilience in the Maldives,” he stressed.
Minister Shahid further states that Maldives enjoys extremely important, and mutually beneficial partnerships with Japan, Australia, China, and a host of other countries, in striving for economic and social development.
A journalist posed a question to Minister Shahid following his address, where the journalist inquired the minister’s thoughts on the tussle between India and China on influencing the Maldives, in the context of the upcoming presidential elections.
In response, Minister Shahid said the current administration will not allow India-China tussles in the Maldives.
“As I mentioned in my introductory remarks, we are not in the business of playing one against the other. We are friends to all and enemies to none. Our partnership is with everyone,” he added.
Nevertheless, Minister Shahid said Maldives and India share a special relationship, as immediate next-door neighbors.
He also expressed confidence President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will be re-elected for a second term.