Former President of the Maldives, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, has said there is no room for the Indian military in the Maldives and that the Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives will have to leave. He made the statement at a rally held by the opposing Progressive Congress coalition on Friday night.
Speaking at the rally, Yameen said that although the current government continues to claim that the 'India Out' campaign is carried out by a small minority of the Maldives population, this is untrue.
Yameen said the campaign, spearheaded by himself, is carried out by the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and the Peoples' National Congress (PNC). He went on to say that the Indian military is not welcome in the Maldives and should not be able to stay in the Maldives. He added that the Maldives is not a colony of India and does not require the Indian military to hold the country's peace.
'We respect India's friendly citizens. However, the Indian military does not need to stay here to maintain peace. This is a treacherous plan by the government. Take me back to jail again - I will still officially state that the Indian military will need to leave the Maldives. There is no room in the Maldives for the Indian military,' he said..
Yameen also responded to a statement by Chief of Defense Force Abdulla Shamaal, in which he claimed that if President Yameen had genuinely attempted to return the helicopters gifted to the Maldives by the Indian government, the Maldives would no longer be in possession of it. In his response, Yameen noted that Shamaal was his nephew and said he would like to extend advice to his relative. He went on to state that both the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry would have records of his attempts to send back the helicopters.
Yameen further noted that his government did not extend visas for Indian military personnel to stay in the Maldives for extended periods, and therefore are in the Maldives unlawfully.
'Your respect, your responsibilities do not lie with the government. It is not your responsibility. Would you please state your responsibilities? You have taken an oath in the name of Allah. You have made a promise to protect our country and our religion. The oath you took does not ask you to protect the president as he steers off course. The constitution specifically states that MNDF does not have to enforce unlawful orders from any powers of the state,' he said