Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday sought to explain his controversial statement that "India should invade Maldives" if rigging takes place in the country's upcoming presidential elections. Swamy distanced his 'personal opinion' from his party, the BJP, and said that he is does not represent the Government of India's official policy or stance in any way.
Swamy claimed that Indian citizens in Maldives can't be "ill-treated". He added, "It's my opinion that Indian government has a responsibility to protect its citizens for which invasion is necessary," ANI quoted his as saying.
After a meeting with exiled former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed in Colombo, Swamy had tweeted on Friday that "India should invade Maldives if rigging of election takes place."
https://t.co/nazyiRCOKs: India should invade Maldives if rigging of election takes place
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) August 24, 2018
Days after Swamy's tweet, the Maldivian foreign office on Sunday summoned Indian envoy Akhilesh Mishra over the comment. The Indian Express reported that Maldives foreign secretary Ahmed Sareer spoke to Indian High Commissioner Akhilesh Mishra on Sunday and conveyed Male's "displeasure" at Swamy's tweet. The island nation's government has also submitted a demarche to the Indian government, expressing shock at the statement.
Mishra is said to have met with Sareer, however, according to Maldives Independent, Sareer's office denied knowing of any such meeting.
On Sunday, the government of India distanced itself from Swamy's statement. Responding to a query on the BJP parliamentarian's comment, Ministry of External spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "The opinion expressed by Dr Swamy in his tweet is personal. It does not reflect the views of the Government of India."
News18 reported that on Wednesday, former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed had told Swamy about his apprehensions that the 23 September presidential elections could be rigged by the incumbent president Abdullah Yameen's party. The discussion between Nasheed and Swamy happened during a meeting in Colombo on 22 August.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 28, 2018 12:19 PM