NEW DELHI: Maldives and its people support India in its standoff with China at Doklam as Male values Delhi as a close neighbor, which will render assistance in times of crises, said Mohamed Nasheed, former president and principal Opposition leader of the island nation.
“We should take sides and we are taking sides. If I am supporting India in its current crisis, it is in my own interest as neighbour like India supports in times of crises including natural disasters and requirements like supply of water. Maldives and India have lived with each for thousands of years. It is wrong for China to suddenly splash money and ask for support,” Nasheed told ET during his ongoing trip to India amid Chinese efforts to expand strategic outreach in South Asia including warships that would visit Maldives in near future.
Nasheed, whose visit to India coincided with that of Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, also did not mince words on the nature of Chinese loans for infrastructure projects that might push his country to a debt trap. Hinting that some of Chinese projects might be terminated if the Opposition is voted to power, Nasheed said Maldives owned 75% of its international debt to only one country – China.
“Many of these projects resulted in massive corruption…compared to China lines of credit offered by India are reasonable and proper tendering process is followed before contract is extended to a particular business firm for a project. This has been my experience when I was in power.” he said.
Nasheed, who is seeking India’s support for strengthening democratic process in his country, said: “The government led by President Yameen could fall at any time. He has lost confidence of many institutions in the country. But the Opposition will not stage a coup to take over power. We have faith in the democratic process and would work to strengthen democracy in Maldives”.