Exiled former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed on Saturday said his country, which is in a state of emergency, does not want any trouble between India and China.
“We don’t want India and China against each other, not at all,” he said at an interaction at “The Huddle”, a thought conclave, conducted by ‘The Hindu’ Publication here.
China earlier had opposed any military intervention in the Maldives, saying such a move would further complicate the situation, a day after Nasheed sought India’s help to resolve the political crisis in the island nation.
The picturesque Indian Ocean archipelago plunged into political chaos when the country’s Supreme Court ordered the release of nine imprisoned opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were “politically motivated and flawed”.
His country is of immense strategic importance to India and China, the world’s two most populous countries dependent on energy imports, Nasheed said when asked whether the Maldives crisis could turn out to be a flash point for the strain in the relationship between India and China.
Nasheed said the Maldives has nothing against China, but it should not attempt to change the “state type” and have democratic oversight, among other things.
“We do like China. I have nothing against China. All that we are saying is do not attempt to change state type; do not push your money in secrecy, have transparency and have democratic oversight, and things will fall in place. That is all we are saying. We are not asking for the sun, the moon and the stars,” he said.
Nasheed, currently in exile in Sri Lanka, said both India and Maldives should be mindful about the cold war brewing in the Indian Ocean because both are neighbouring countries.
“I have always been saying that there is a cold war brewing in the Indian Ocean and we should be mindful about that, and we can’t be sandwiched in between. We must make sure India’s national security and safety because we are just next door,” he said.
“We cannot suddenly doing our own thing, simply because somebody (China) decides to give some millions of dollars. It shouldn’t work like that, and hope that people in the Indian Ocean understand that this is not the way forward,” he added.
Nasheed earlier had tweeted that India should send an envoy, backed by its military, to release judges and leaders of political parties detained by President Abdulla Yameen.
The two-day “The Huddle” conclave features thought leaders, politicians, academicians, writers, artists, and sportspersons.