The Maldives United Opposition, the rainbow coalition or the coalition-in-exile- which has come together to against the “dictatorial” regime of President Abdulla Yameen spent their first day in the Indian capital to make their point to the media.
The second day, though, is where the real political dialogue begins, and where else to make a start but for the ruling party in power in India. So, they have a date with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday where they meet General Secretary and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) point person Ram Madhav with a hope to enlighten the current government on the increasing Islamic radicalisation in the Maldives and the overt Chinese engagement with the present regime in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
The eight-member delegation of the shadow cabinet of Maldives United Opposition (MUO), which is on a three-day visit, will also brief the BJP leader the abuse of human rights in the country. “We are meeting Ram Madhav and other leaders of the BJP to seek greater Indian engagement on the current political scenario,” Hamid Abdul Gafoor, Maldivian Democratic Party spokesperson said.
The MUO said that they are hopeful that they will be able to cash the friendship with Madhav and get India “intervene” to overthrow the “authoritarian” rule of President Abdulla Yameen’s government.
“We met Ram Madhav in Columbo in February this year, when BJP formally joined the International Democratic Union (IDU) and we connected well during that meeting. Now that we are in Delhi, we are meeting him and hopefully few other leaders to seek more support,” Gafoor said expressing the wish to meet the Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj later in the day.
The delegation is most likely to highlight the issue of radicalisation and alleged involvement of President Yameen in funding the extremism in the meeting- which remains one of the major concerns for India.
The MUO has alleged that besides the obvious collapse of democracy and judicial system in the country, President Yameen is also involved in funding the radical groups in the country.
“Extremists are being funded by Sun Siyam who is a leader of Maldives Development Alliance, He is also a big time resort businessman. He owns the Sun Group. Yameen’s closest coalition partner and extreme radical activities are taking place in some of the atolls of the Maldives,” said Ahmed Naseem, former Foreign Affairs Minister of the Indian Ocean nation.
Shadow minister of Defence and National Security Abdullah Ameen said, “If India and the members of international community neglects us on this critical time, the results could be dangerous beyond imagination. The Indian Ocean might fall under unforeseen perils.”
“Today the friends of the Maldivian government are not its neighbours. Neither are they the close friends of India. For the safety and security of the region, we look for the support of India to rectify the course of Maldives,” Ameen said.
Without mincing words, he said, “We ask India to support the hard work of the Maldivians to bring back democracy to the Maldives.”
Shadow minister of Health, Social Protection and Gender, Shidhatha Shareef, said the Maldivian economy has become the “second worst in the South Asia region, next to Afghanistan, with only 1.9 per cent growth”. She said while 40 per cent of the population of the Maldives is youth, 12 per cent of them are unemployed, according to a World Bank report.
The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on several occasions, has urged the countries around the world to stop advocating the concept of “good terrorism” or “bad terrorism” and come forward to unite against any kind of radicalisation.
Interestingly, Indian had also negotiated a counter-terrorism agreement with President Yameen to deal with the issue of Maldivians leaving for Syria and other countries to join the biggest terror group ISIS.
However, the MUO insists that the policies will remain just policies as President Yameen is not sincere in eliminating radical elements in the country and highly undermining the numbers.
“We believe in Narendra Modi’s ‘region first’ policy without reservation and we want to uphold the traditional friendship with India,” Naseem said.
The government officially announced that 49 Maldivians have left the country to fight foreign wars while the opposition claims the numbers to be more than 300. The MUO also urged the need to have a detailed profiling of the radicalised youth to ensure that it is stopped at first step.
The MUO is also likely to meet other stakeholders in the country before heading to the United States early next month.