Maldives denies media reports claiming India offered $1 billion in exchange for establishing Indian military base in Male

Male: The Maldives Government has strongly denied media reports which stated that India had offered $1 billion to Maldives in exchange for the deployment of Indian troops in the island nation.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid said that the Maldivian territory would not be used for the establishment of any foreign military bases. "Categorically refute media reports alleging that government is planning to allow the establishment of an Indian military base in Maldives in exchange for financial assistance or other material benefits. It is baseless and aimed at discrediting the government as it starts to rebuild good relations with its neighbours and the rest of the international community," he said on Twitter.

File image of Abdullah Shahid. ANI

File image of Abdullah Shahid. ANI

"Government assures the people, that it will always act in the national interest of Maldives and will not undertake any international engagement that will compromise the sovereignty and independence of the country," he added. Shahid was reacting to a news article published in a Japanese Daily, NIKKIE Asian Review, which stated that India offered Maldives $1 billion in exchange for stronger security ties.

Abdullah Shahid was recently on an official visit to New Delhi, where he met top leaders including his counterpart Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

He described India as time-tested and a trusted partner. He showed commitment to strengthen bilateral trade ties between the two countries. The Foreign Minister, however, mentioned that his country will closely work with all of its neighbours and the international community. He also called China as a friend and one of the largest economies of the world whose assistance had benefited Maldives.

New Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is scheduled to visit India on 17 December in keeping with his 'India-First' policy.

Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.

Updated Date: Nov 30, 2018 08:44:08 IST